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AMBITION 



OR, 



THE LAUNCH OF A SKIFF UPON THE 
SEA OF LIFE. 



BY 

EIGGAM STREBOR. 



NEW YORK : 

PUBLISHED FOR THE AUTHOR 

BY LANGE, LITTLE & CO. 
1876. 



Copyright, 
LANGE, LITTLE & CO, 

1875. 



New York : Lange, Little & Co., Printers, 
Nos. 10 to SO Astor Place. 



THIS BOOK 
IS MOST RESPECTFULLY 

TO 

JOHN F. TRO^A/', 

OP 

NEW YORK CITY. 






u.^ 




PREFACE. 




S I have made one of the most prominent 
^j men of New York City my hero — I 
will explain the significance of the name 
''Ames Skiff." 

This young hero launches his tiny skiff upon 
the turbulent waves of the ocean of life — and 
therefore aims to steer her in the right course, 
and, finally, through his indomitable energy, 
succeeds in anchoring her in safety to the haven 
where he would be. 

I really do not think that I have overdrawn 
the natural picture of life ; and proud must be 
the quiet hamlet that sends a true hero into the 
world. 

Let the. sharp and venomous arrows fly thick 



6 PREFACE. 

and fast from envious quivers around him, 
their poison will be drawn before they strike our 
true hero. 

Although but a mortal, given to temptation as 
thousands of brave men, he has proved to the 
world that he possesses the true metal that 
makes the American hero. 

For perseverance and energy he deserves the 
praise of the people, and of his political life I 
will let others speak. 

With his faults I have nothing to do ; but the 
world knows for a certainty that whatever the 
true hero undertakes he does in grand style. 




CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE MAGNIFICENT FOUR-IN-HAND. 

PAGB 

The iron will 15 

CHAPTER n. 

THE BOY HERO. 

" I'd rather be a chimney-sweep than be made fetch water 

like a girl" 18 

CHAPTER HI. 

THE ARRIVAL OF THE GRAND CIRCUS. 

" I will go to head-quarters myself" 22 

CHAPTER IV. 

AMES IN HIS NEW ROLE. 

The vision, — The departure 27 

CHAPTER V. 

AMES TURNS PEDDLER. 

The ghost 30 

CHAPTER VI. 

THE ENCOUNTER WITH THE GHOST. 

The miracle 37 



O CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER VII. 

RICHARD IS HIMSELF AGAIN. p^^p 

Tlie sudden flight of Ames ... 44 

CHAPTER VIII. 

"he told me not to tell." 

The love of a sister 48 

CHAPTER IX. 

AMY SUTTON. 

The business engagement - 51 

CHAPTER X. 

HENRY IN SEARCH OF ONE THING FINDS ANOTHER. 

Meeting wiih the orphans. — Interview be.ween Amy and 
Henr\^ 54 

CHAPTER XI. 

THE PENN BROTHERS. 

Sad news from sea. — The unexpected meeting 61 

CHAPTER XII. 

THE WEDDING. 

The return of Ames.-^The offer scorned. — "Sir, I am 

an American " 64 

CHAPTER XIII. 

THE HAPPY FAMILY. 

The poor widow's story . . » . . . . d'] 

CtlAPTER XIV. 

THE ARREST AND TRIAL. 

The midnight alarm. — The circumstantial evidence 72 



CONTENTS. 9 

CHAPTER XV. 

THE ARREST AND TRIAL. CONTINUED. p^ge 

The trial of McMurdy. — Ames put upon the s'and. — 

The hasty departure 76 

CHAPTER XVI. 

THE BALL OF THE AMERICAN CLUB. 

Love at first sight. — fleeting of Ames with his sister yS 

CHAPTER XVH. 

AT THE CLUB. 

The re-union. — "There was three crows sat on a tree." — 
" 'Tis pa^t the witching hour of night" 82 

CHAPTER XVni. 

THE SURPRISE. 

"My mother lives in Heaven, sir." — Affecting meeting 
between I\Irs. Sutton and the stranger. — The meeting 
between Henry DcBar and Frank Hardy 85 

CHAPTER XIX. 

THE ENGAGEMENT. 

Full consent of Uncle Frank 90 

CHAPTER XX. 

THE MYSTERIOUS GUEST. 

The quarrel. — " You have no right to dictate to me who I 
shall love " 95 

CHAPTER XXI. 

THE BETROTHAL. 

The ring that had been in the family for generations 100 

CHAPTER XXII. 

THE STEAMBOAT DISASTER. 

The rescue of Ames. — His heroic conduct 104 



lO CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

AT THE CLUB. pace 

How they received the terrible news at the club. — The reso- 
lutions passed. 107 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

HOW THE SUFFERERS WERE RESCUED. 

The steamer Tre7iton. — The recognition. — The arrival at 
Vicksburg no 

CHAPTER XXV. 

THE AVOWAL AND SEPARATION. 

The sudden departure 113 

CHAPTER XXVI. 

THE SUDDEN RETURN. THE GLAD SURPRISE. 

* ' Have you no word of welcome ? " 118 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

THE ALARM. THE RESCUE AND ITS RESULTS. 

The Startling cry of "mad dog." — Meeting between Ames 
and Annie Penn. — Love's young dream 122 

CHAPTER XXVIII. 

THE DOUBLE SURPRISE. 

"I cannot be your groomsman, for I am myself engaged ". 128 
CHAPTER XXIX. 

THE SAD HISTORY OF FRANK HARDy's EARLY LIFE. 

The stolen bank-notes. — The dismissal. — The temptation 
and rescue 135 

CHAPTER XXX. 

THE SINGULAR MEETING OF UNCLE AND NEPHEW. 

Ames's delight at being the means of bringing about the 

meeting 142 



CONTENTS. I 1 

CHAPTER XXXI. 

ASHTON MOORE MEETS WITH NOTHING BUT SURPRISES. pace 

"My sainted mother, dost thou look upon this scene.? " — 
Maggie's surmises. — ''He's got my name, so he must 
be some relation to me. " 146 

CHAPTER XXXH. 

THE DOUBLE WEDDING. 

The village children. — The flowery path 150 

CHAPTER XXXHI. 

THE GRAND RECEPTION. 

The brides at home 156 

CHAPTER XXXIV. 

ROSA LYNN IN A NEW ROLE. 

"For impudence she is promoted from dressing-maid to 
maid-of-all-work." — ''Never mind, I'll be a grand 
lady yet. " 159 

CHAPTER XXXV. 

SIR EDWARD AT THE CLUB-ROOM. 

The toasts 1 64 

CHAPTER XXXVI. 

THE MASK BALL. 

The handsome Apollo and the gypsy fortune-teller. — The 

jealousy of Aurora. — The poor minstrel 167 

CHAPTER XXXVII. 

A STORMY SCENE AT BREAKFAST. 

The three things which Rosa went to see at the ball. — 
Rosa's indignation. — "When she gets to be a lady, 
I'll call her so — not before." 169 



1 2 CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

ROSA AS HOUSE-MAID. p^gk 

Interview between Bert Howard and Rosi. — "Ah! did 

you tell me not to slam it? " — Bert's perplexity 172 

CHAPTER XXXIX. 
SIR Edward's resolution. 
Sir Edward's interview with Wallace. — His determination 

to visit Rosa 1 76 

CHAPTER XL. 

INTERVIEW BETWEEN SIR EDWARD AND ROSA. 

The interruption. — The effect of playing a grand march. — 
'' I don't know who I am." — The reappearance of 
Bert. — " Oh ! you're talking in your sleep." 179 

CHAPTER XLI. * 

SIR EDWARD RELATES HIS PROMISED STORY. 

Sudden appearance of Rosa. — The strange discovery. — The 
miniature tells its own tale. — The findiilg of the lost 
pearl. — Rosa finds a protector in Sir Edward. — She is no 
longer Rosa Lynn the circus-rider, or the maid-of-all- 
work, but Lady Maud of Clifton Hall 183 

CHAPTER XLH. 

THE FAMILY AT HOME. 

The hasty summons. — The meeting between Lady Maud 
and her former mistress. — Rosa's magnanimity. — Bert 
gains the prize 189 



CONTENTS. 13 

CHAPTER XLIII. 

THE DOUBLE WEDDING. pack 

The recognition between Lady Maud and Ames. — The 

parting upon the ocean wave 194 

CHAPTER XLIV. 

THE CONFLAGRATION. 

Tne heroic conduct of Ames. — The firemen's supper. — The 
toast to the hero.— The house of pleasure in the morn- 
ing a mass of ruins at night 197 

CHAPTER XLV. 

THE SHADOW OF DEATH. 

The fatal missive. — Crossing the dark river 202 

CHAPTER XLVI. 

A FLYING VISIT OUT WEST. 

The fearful crash. — The wreck. — Again on the track. — Safe 

arrival 205 

CHAPTER XLVH. 

THE MEETING WITH OLD FRIENDS. — MELANCHOLY MEETING 
WITH HENRY DEBAR. 

Untimely death of Frank Hardy. — Heartrending scene at 

the grave 208 

• CHAPTER XLVHI. 

THE MYSTERY OF MAGGIE's BIRTH SOLVED. THE HEIRESS.. 214 

CHAPTER XLIX. 

MILTON smith's REWARD. 

Maggie is made happy in his great love 218 



14 CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER L. 

THE GOAL OF HIS AMBITION REACHED. page 

He is Styled the prince of good fellows. — He looks after 
the comforts of the poorer classes. — And he under- 
takes nothing but what he goes through with in grand 
style 220 

CHAPTER LI. 

CONCLUSION. 

Our hero accepts a military position. — A flattering ovation. 

— '^Long live our hero \" 223 




AMBITION 



CHAPTER I. 




THE MAGNIFICENT FOUR IN HAND. 

/NE afternoon in the summer of eighteen 
hundred and seventy, as I, with some 
lady friends, were crossing" Fourteenth 
Street, m_y attention was attracted by the sudden 
approach of an elegant turnout. There were three 
gentlemen seated therein. With them I have noth- 
ing to do ; my eyes were riveted upon the hand- 
some driver. He was dressed in pure white, with a 
straw hat around which was a band of blue ribbon 
and a golden anchor in front ; he looked as though 
he had just come out of a band-box, so neat and 
clean was he. 

Well! all eyes were centered upon him, for he 
handled the ribbons so gracefully. As he came near 
the crowd which were crossing the street, he reined 



1 6 AMBITION. 

in the four magnificent prancing animals with a 
hand of iron, and they soon were made to under- 
stand that they were in the hands of a master. 

Now I must describe my hero. He was a man 
apparently thirty years of age, in the full vigor of 
manhood, with liQ^ht hair which was a mass of beau- 
tiful curls, his eyes were as blue as the skies, and 
had the merry twinkle of the stars on a cold winter 
night, but his chief beauty lay in the mouth and 
chin ; the latter was broad and manly, his mouth 
was partially hidden by a long silken light mus- 
tache, slightly curled at the ends. At times, when in 
deep thought, one would think that he was making 
up his mind to conquer the world, and again, when 
interested in anything, his whole countenance would 
brighten with a rare smile, or he would burst out in 
a hearty laugh, which would display a magnificent 
set of the whitest teeth. 

The hands that had reined in those four fiery 
horses were small and well shaped, and soft as a 
lady's. No one, to feel the gentle pressure of that 
hand would think that his grip was of iron, but 
such was the grip of Ames Skiff ; his bright genial 
nature brought around him many friends who would 
strew his pathway with roses, as it were, because he 
had plenty of that which the world worships, money! 
and without which we are nothing. 



AMBITION. 1 7 

Now we must trace our hero from the beginning, 
and will find in him the true metal, for this man 
has made his own fortune, and is one of nature's 
noblemen. 

I hope the young men of the present day will 
follow his example ; he believed in the words of the 
poet : 

" There is a tide in the affairs of men, 
Which, taken at the flood. 
Leads on to fortune." 




CHAPTER II 




THE BOY HERO. 

WAY Up among the mountains ot the 
State of New York, Hved a respectable 
but poor couple, with a small family of 
pretty bright children, among them a little curly- 
headed, laughing, meddlesome imp, who was the 
favorite of everybody. 

There was no mischief too great for him to be 
the head of. 

One day there was a group of little, healthy, 
dirty urchins, who were in a loud altercation about 
something, when one of the number stepped out 
with his sleeves rolled up in fighting trim, saying : 

" I'll bet two cents that I can beat any of the 
crowd. Them that's spilling for a fight, just come 
on ! " and he planted one bare heel in the ground, 
spat in his hand, and halloed, " Come on, I say ! " 

At that moment, a little fellow, dressed in gray, 
was seen running toward the group. He was hat- 



AMBITION. 19 

less and shoeless, his pants were neatly patched, 
but with different colors. Yet the sunshine of his 
heart shone in his beaming face. He was 

* ' Just as happy as a big sunflower. " 

As he ran toward the group, the boys shouted, 
'' Here comes Ames Skiff. He'll fight with you, 
Tony ! " and they parted right and left for the ring- 
leader to enter the circle, which he did, in fine 
style ; but, much to the astonishment of his compan- 
ions, he declined to fight on so slight a provocation. 

As the boys gathered around him, he said, 
" Now, listen, boys ! There's a big show coming 
down here next week, and I want to make a name 
in the world before I die, and I'm just going to join 
that circus. You see if I don't! By golly! but won't 
I ride them there horses. I'll bet my life that I can 
raise the wind, and you'll all live to see me Presi- 
dent of these United States, some day ; that is, if you 
don't jump into and kill each other right away ! " 

The boys sent up a tremendous shout, with 
"three cheers for Ames Skiff, our president that is 
to be." 

And Ames laughed heartily with the rest, and 
shook his curly head, saying, *' Never mind boys, 
you can make as much fun as you please, but I'll 
do the thing up brown ! " 



20 AMBITION. 

'' Ah, yes ! The thing is you won't fight it up 
brown, will you, Ames?" said the boy who was 
ready for a free fight. 

" No, sir-ree," said Ames. " My mother told me 
never to fight if I could help it. Now, you see I 
don't mind fighting for my own self, but when it 
comes to fighting for another boy, I say I ain't to be 
found ; that's it, now ! " And, so saying, the non- 
combatant hero marched off with his colors flying, 
at this bloodless victory ; that is, with a piece of 
white cotton thrown over his head to shield him 
from the piercing rays of old Sol, which the breeze 
seemed to take a great fancy to ; for, it would lift 
one corner, and then another, seemingly to get a 
peep at the pretty bright curls underneath. 

At a short distance, he was met by a little sister, 
who was crying piteously. Ames stooped and 
kissed the little one gently, and wiped her face 
with her white apron, which, when she saw the 
dirt that he had wiped off her face upon her clean 
apron, her tears broke out afresh, and she said : 

*' Oh, Ames ! this is my span clean apron, and 
mamma will whip me if I get it dirty. Oh, o-o-o- ! " 

Poor Ames was overcome at seeing his sister's 
tears, and kneeled in the dirt before her (in his 
span clean clothes) as his sister said, took her 
hands from her face, and with his own handker- 



AMBITION. 2 1 

chief again wiped her face, and together they 
smoothed out the rumples in the wonderful apron, 
kissed her tears away, and marched off toward 
home with his precious burden in his strong, lov- 
ing arms. 

When his mother saw him coming, she called 
out, '' Why, Ames, how often have I told you that 
you should not lug that great big girl about ? She's 
nearly as big as yourself, and is plenty able to 
walk around. It ain't like she was a puny, sickly 
thing, nor nothing. Put her down, this minute, I 
say, and go along and fetch a pail of water ! " 

Ames swung his little sister around two or 
three times, much to that young lady's delight, then 
took up the pail and left the house. When he got 
to the spring, he sat down on the bank, crossed his 
leg, and holding on to his bare foot, said aloud : 

" Well, this will never do for me. I am getting 
too big to hang 'round the house, and I'll not do it 
no longer. I'm just made up my mind to make a 
man of myself, and staying up here playing the 
girl, won't do it. I'd rather ^be a chimney-sweep 
than be made fetch water like a girl ! " and as he 
heard his mother call him, he filled his bucket with 
the clear spring water, raised it upon his head, and 
wended his way homeward, where he arrived with- 
out accident, still thinking of being a great man. 



CHAPTER III 




THE ARRIVAL OF THE GRAND CIRCUS. 

N the early part of the following week, the 
great circus arrived ; the spacious tent 
was pitched on fair ground ; everybody 
for miles around was on the qui vive. 

Ames's great day-dream seemed about to be ful- 
filled ; he was determined to join that circus ; 
and was one of the first to have a peep under 
the canvas. Then, his father gave him money 
to go with some boys, and he came home delight- 
ed, and soon prevailed upon his mother and father 
going, for, said he, " Oh ! father, It is a bully thing, 
I tell you !" 

Accordingly, the next evening, the whole Skiff 
family were seated under this great canvas. 

The play was " The Black Statue," which de- 
lighted the little family, as well as all their neigh- 



AMBITION. . 23 

bors, who would not be behind the Skiff family, 
as they said. 

When the play of "The Black Statue" was over, 
they brought out a little girl, in a beautiful short 
white dress, all covered with spangles, and a silver 
spangled crown upon her head ; her hair, which 
was as black as night, hung down to her waist in 
great ringlets. 

After she made her bow to the audience, she 
was lifted upon a jet-black pony, and given a tiny 
silver-mounted whip, with which she struck the 
animal, and he darted off at full speed. Presently, 
she arose, and stood upon one foot, with both 
arms stretched out, as if dancing. The audience 
h'lld their breath, thinking every moment to see 
her fall to the ground, but of course she was well 
trained, and did not fall. After remaining in that 
position for some time, she stood on her tip-toes, 
with her arms over her head, and swayed back- 
ward, as if dancing on the stage. While in this 
strained position, the rustics could hold in no 
longer. But Ames was the first to break the spell, 
by clapping his chubby hands, when all joined in 
heartily, and the young beauty bowed in acknowl- 
edgment of the compliment. 

When she was taken off the horse, and stood 
upon the platform bowing, and kissing her hand to 



24 • AMBITION. 

the audience, a tremendous cheer arose, and she 
was forced to ride the second time. 

Then, several powerful and beautiful animals were 
led out, and men in tights leaped upon their bare 
backs, when off they went like the wind, through 
hoops covered with pink paper, and over ropes, 
while the clown stood in the center, with a fool's 
cap upon his head, his face painted hideously, 
and a whip in his hand, which he kept cracking 
at the horses as they flew by. In the meantime, 
saying something funny, that made everybody 
laugh. 

Everything that was done In a great city was 
done In that little country place, to delight the 
people ; their efforts" to please were not In vain, 
for In every house, far and near, the praises of the 
wonderful circus of Van Amburgh were sung. 

Well, the next morning, our gallant Ames 
turned up in front of the circus tent, where he lin- 
gered some time before he saw any one. When 
by and by, a little ragged boy hailed him with : '' I 
say boy, what are you prowling about here for ? " 

At first our hero took no notice of him, and 
walked around the tent like some great Newfound- 
land dog, who seemed to say, " I can annihilate 
you at one blow ; " but the little fellow seemed not 
to be In the least Intimidated by his lordly scowl, 



AMBITION. 25 

and kept In his wake for some time. When the pa- 
tience of young Ames seemed to be exhausted, and 
he forthwith rewarded the pertinacity of his med- 
dlesome friend, with a blow between his eyes, 
which staggered him at once. 

When a man approached, whom Ames recog- 
nized as the clown of the previous evening, he 
stooped and raised the fallen boy, saying, in angry 
tones : 

" How dare you strike this little inoffensive 
fellow ? " 

'' Because he insulted me," said Ames, drawing 
himself up to his full height. 

The man took hold of him roughly, and said : 
"I'll shake the life out of you, you little vagabond 
— yes, I'll thrash you within an inch of your mis- 
erable life, you little blackguard ; " and the Irate 
man shook his fist In the face of Ames, who stood 
with flashing eyes, and his fists doubled up, as if 
ready for the fray — his head thrown back in 
fierce defiance. He was a truthful picture of 
Young America. 

The clown seemed pleased to see such spirit 
In the boy, and going towards him, held out his 
hand, saying: "Come, make friends my boy, I 
thought you were a coward, when you knocked 
down this puny lad, but I really believe, that you 



26 AMBITION. 

would as leave pitch into me, if you had no crowd 
even to back you." 

Ames turned from him, the scowl still on his 
handsome face, saying : '' I'll just go to head-quar- 
ters ; " he turned upon his heel, and in doing so 
came face to face with Van Amburgh, who had 
witnessed the whole thing, unseen, himself. He 
addressed Ames thus : 

" Well, my fine fellow, you are now at head- 
quarters, let me hear your petition ;" then, taking 
out his watch to see the time, he said, " I have yet 
a few moments to spare, speak quick and freely 
my lad," and he extended his hand, which was 
grasped heartily by young Ames. 

" Now, sir, you ask me what I came here for. 
Well, sir, I have made up my mind to join your cir- 
cus, if you will have me. I never was outside this 
place, and am anxious to make a name, but can't 
do it here, so I will go with you sir, if you please." 

Van Amburgh seemed much pleased with the 
lad, invited him to see him again and left him. 

The next day Ames called ; was received pleas- 
antly, and the arrangements made to take him with 
the troupe when they left. 

Ames returned home with a light heart, but no 
one knew of his intentions. When the circus left 
the last of the week, Ames was nowhere to be 
found; he had gone with the circus. 



CHAPTER IV. 

AMES IN HIS NEW ROLE. 

iNIES soon endeared himself to all, espe- 
W cially to the little Rosa that we first saw 
'^'^^"^ in Van Amburgh's circus. 

She looked up to him for everything ; he was 
her constant companion, and often rode around the 
ring with her to the delight of an immense audi- 
ence — such as Van Amburgh was sure to draw. 

Thus three years passed, and the brave lad had 
an opportunity of seeing the world. Whenever 
he rode or acted, it was with such ease and grace, 
that the whole audience applauded enthusiastically 
as he bowed his proud head in acknowledgment. 

One night while Rosa was riding around, some 
mischievous boy threw a pack of lighted fire- 
crackers before the horse, which reared back Im- 
mediately, then plunged forward fearfully. Ames 
was at his post in a second, threw himself before 



28 AMBITION. 

the frightened animal, and held the bridle with a 
grip of iron. The audience held their breath in 
terrible suspense ; but, when they saw the coura- 
geous boy was safe, they arose en masse, and shouts 
of applause rent the air. 

Ames lifted the little frightened child from the 
horse and carried her behind the curtain. But the 
people were not satisfied ; they shouted until he 
came out and stood before them, and made his first 
speech ; then the furore died out. 

Neither the child nor Ames made their appear- 
ance again that evening. It was soon discovered 
that the boy had dislocated his wrist, and the phy- 
sician said it would upset him for some time. 

But the boy could not remain inactive ; he sold 
tickets while his wrist was weak, and, rather liking 
the handling of money, became ticket agent. 

Rosa missed him very much in her rides. Yet 
he was with her a great deal ; he humored her in 
every whim, and they were still on the most inti- 
mate terms. 

About this time there joined the troupe a great 
burly sort of a boy, who took special delight in 
annoying Ames. One day he approached the latter 
in a swaggering sort of way, saying : *' I say, low- 
head, I'd like to take a round with you. I'll bet 
you a quarter I can whip the d — 1 out of you ! " 



AMBITION. 29 

Ames stood for some time looking at the boy, in 
silent contempt. At last he spoke : " Get out, you 
ugl}' dog ; when I fight it must be with my equal," 
and he turned his back upon the fighting puppy, 
amid roars of laughter from the crowd that had 
gathered to see the sport, for there were bets made 
that the "pet of the ring" could beat the great 
bully. 

This so enraged the brutal fellow, that, in the 
twinkling of an eye, he hurled a great stone at the 
curly head of Ames, who dodged it in time, and 
deliberately walked over to the infuriated boy, and 
shook him by the shoulders, then walked slowly 
away. At this cool exploit a deafening shout rent 
the air. 

After this everything gave way before him. 
Wherever he went, people would say: " That fel- 
low has pluck enough ; mind, I tell you, he'll come 
out bright yet. I shouldn't wonder if he wouldn't 
be the President of the United States some of these 
days." 

Many were the encomiums bestowed upon our 
hero, but he was entirely unconcerned, and went 
his way whistling, with his hands in his pocket. 




CHAPTER V. 

AMES TURNS PEDDLER. 

|0ME time after this, as Ames was sitting 
with little Rosa in one of the seats of the 
tent, he seemed to be in deep thought. His 
head rested in the hollow of his hand, and his eyes 
were riveted upon one of the benches, when he 
was aroused from his deep revery by Rosa laying 
her little white plump hand upon his head, and say- 
ing, gently: "What is the matter, dear Ames; 
does your head hurt you ? Let me rub it for you, 
like I did the other day." 

But Ames pushed her roughly aside, saying : 
'' No, my head does not hurt, Rosa, and I don't 
want you to ask me any questions. I wish you 
would leave me." 

The little girl threw herself down on the bench, 
and cried bitterly. For some time he took no no- 
tice of her, when all at once her sobs seemed to 



AMBITION. 31 

reach his ear, and he arose and kneeled down be- 
side her, took her hand gently in both of his, and 
begged her to forgive his rudeness. He wiped 
her eyes with her handkerchief, and kissed away 
her tears, then lifted her up tenderly. She placed 
her arms around his neck and sobbed aloud. Ames 
could not comfort her for some time. 

When this paroxysm of grief was over, he 
smoothed her thick curls, and begged her to tell 
him what was the matter, that it was now his turn 
to question. 

" Oh, it was because you spoke so cross to me 
just now. You know, Ames, that I have no one 
to love but you. My father has been dead for 
years, and my mother left me to the mercy of these 
people, who, I must say, have been very kind to 
me. Mr. Raymond, the ring-master, is just like a 
father, and when I was little he used to take me In 
his arms and cry over me ; he certainly must know 
something about my parents, don't you think so, 
Ames ? " and the little orphan circus-rider smiled 
through her tears, as the boy patted her on the 
head, saying : 

" Cheer up, little girl, I will always be your friend ; 
but I am thinking strongly about leaving here, I 
am getting too big to be lounging around. Now, 
Rosa, darling, listen," and the boy seated Rosa 



32 AMBITION. 

Upon the bench, and kneeled upon one knee before 
her, holding her tiny hand, as he said: "I believe 
I was made for something better than this. As I 
was lying across my little pallet the other night, the 
moon shining brightly upon me, I saw a man ap- 
proach my bed, his face was bright, as though 
he were smiling upon me. I kept my eyes fixed 
intently upon him, when he spoke, in a low, gentle 
voice : ' My lad, be truthful, be gentle, yet be bold ; 
bear and forbear ; turn your back upon your pres- 
ent vocation, it will lead to nothing ; by the setting 
of the harvest moon hie thee away, take thy 
worldly store upon thy back, and travel over moun- 
tains and across rivers, before you attempt to rest ; 
then you will be on the road to wealth. Farewell.' 
" The man, or specter, whatever it was, vanished 
while I still gazed in speechless terror upon it. I 
sprang from my bed and rushed to the door, but 
found it securely fastened. I ran to the win- 
dow, but saw nothing save the pale moon's beams. 
I then threw myself across my bed, but could not 
sleep, for this vision, or whatever it was, was be- 
fore me constantly ; and as the moon is on the 
decline, I must soon take my leave of all present 
and pleasant associations, and climb the steep and 
rugged hill of uncertainty, which I know is very 
difficult; but, notwithstanding, I must undertake 



AMBITION. 33 

the task. So, my dear little girl, you must always 
think kindly of me ; and when I am a great man, I 
will come and take you to live with me, and you 
shall be my little sister." With these words of 
comfort to the little girl, the noble-hearted boy 
arose from his kneeling position, clasped her in 
his arms, and kissed her as tenderly as though she 
was his own sister, and bade her good-bye, cau- 
tioning her not to speak to any one of his depart- 
ure, and he would soon let her hear from him. 

Two days after this interview, Ames invested 
his little money in some light tin and metal ware, 
and, on the decHne of the harvest moon, took his 
little worldly stock, and left that part of the country. 

True to the prediction, he traveled over moun- 
tains and valleys, and in a short time he had to 
replenish his little stock, so great was the demand 
for his wares. 

It must not be thought for an instant that Ames 
was standing still, either in age or beauty ; he had 
improved very much since we first met him. He 
was quite tall, and very compactly built. 

Wherever he went he made quite a sensation 
among the rustic beauties. The young peddler 
was invited to all their entertainments. Nothing 
was complete without him ; and Ames became very 
proud of his popularity. Some would have It that 
2 * 



34 AMBITION. 

he was a prince In disguise, which joke he enjoyed 
hugely, for it made him the envy of all the young 
men. The girls declared that he was too gentle 
and graceful to be any common mortal, and all vied 
with each other in dress, to captivate the *' Prince 
of Peddlers." 

Although sorely tempted, Ames did not forget 
his little absent friend, Rosa ; often after the day's 
work was done, would he stroll along the side of 
some babbling brook, with his hands crossed be- 
hind him, thinking of the little circus rider, and 
wondering if she was well taken care of, and if she 
was thinking of him. 

During one of his evening rambles, just as he 
neared the brook, he heard a terrible shriek, and a 
young girl darted past him with the rapidity qf 
lightning ; her hands were thrown up, her hair was 
hanging loosely over her shoulders, and at a little 
distance, the cause of her terror was apparent ; this 
was a white-robed figure, flying past like the wind.. 

Ames cried at the top of his voice: " Stop, or I'll 
shoot," but the figure did not stop or heed the 
warning, and Ames, seeing the unfortunate girl leap 
into the water, turned his attention immediately to 
her. Although the brook (like all other noisy, 
babbling things) was shallow, yet he feared she had 
sustained severe injury in falling upon the stones, he 



AMBITION. 35 

Stooped down and gently raised the girl, who had 
fainted, laid her upon the grass, made a cup of his 
straw hat by filling It with water, and very tenderly 
did he lave her throbbing brow, for she was now 
conscious, and begged him not to let the ghost 
come near her. 

Ames tried to calm her agitation as best he could, 
assuring her that In his belief there was no such 
things as ghosts. 

'* Oh ! but I know It was a ghost," said the poor 
girl, "for I saw nothing until I got Into Farmer 
Brown's woods, when something tall and white 
sprung up before me, with eyes glaring like two 
balls of fire, and I screamed and ran, and It ran too, 
and It followed me here ; didn't you see It, Mr. 
Skiff?" 

" Yes, I saw something white chasing you, but I 
thought It was somebody trying to frighten you. 
Now, If you are able, I will take you home," say- 
ing which, he gallantly offered his arm, which she 
timidly accepted, and in due time they reached 
home, without being molested in any way. 

Soon the story of the ghost was circulated through 
the country, and the part that Ames enacted In this 
little farce, made him a hero. 

So he came to the conclusion to leave the place, 
before the good Impression had died out. 



36 AMBITION. 

Therefore, when the farmer's, wife with whom he 
had been Hving since his advent among them, 
tapped at his room door, to announce breakfast, 
receiving no answer, cautiously turned the knob 
and entered the room, she found it empty. Seeing 
the bed had not been occupied, she ran down stairs 
hastily, and astonished the inmates of the kitchen 
with the news ; they stared in blank astonishment 
at the poor woman, who burst into tears, with the 
words : '' Oh ! oh ! he must have been murdered, 
you know he was so venturesome, he didn't mind 
ghosts, nor nothing ; I'm sure he's got killed — Oh ! 
Oh ! Oh ! " She buried her face in her hands, and 
wept aloud. 




CHAPTER VI 




the 



THE ENCOUNTER WITH THE GHOST. 

HE news spread like wildfire, and, In a little 
^ time, the house was fairly besieged with 
persons eager to view the chamber where 
hero had so often rested. And minutely did 
they examine the pillow, whereon rested his head, 
with Its wealth of golden curls. 

The walls were sounded, to see If they could 
find a hollow spot where a burglar could enter ; 
but, finding none, the mystery seemed to deepen. 
They calculated the risk of a leap from the win- 
dow ; then they examined minutely the grass, di- 
rectly under said window ; nothing was discovered. 
Thus, the whole day was spent In Idle conjectures. 
Then Farmer Brown spoke up : " I say, lads, the 
only thing, and the best thing we can do, is to 
turn out in a body, with clubs and guns, and scour 
the woods ; for maybe that that tarnal ghost has 



38 AMBITION. 

something or other to do with this mysterious dis- 
appearance of young Skiff. It would be terrible to 
have a fellow run off with, and we left in ignor- 
ance of his whereabouts. So now disperse, and 
get your suppers, and with your arms in your strong 
hands, meet me here, and I'll lead you ; and I'll 
bet my best cow that no ghosts will follow us." 

Accordingly, at the time specified, a large party 
of strong men set out to scour the woods. They 
had not proceeded far, when a sight met their 
gaze, which made their blood run cold. They had 
been led in that direction by groans and fierce 
imprecations, hurled upon some imaginary enemy. 

When they reached the spot from whence these 
sounds proceeded, a horrible spectacle presented 
itself In the person of the ghost, who was stretched 
full length upon the ground, gnashing his teeth, 
and moaning piteously one moment, and the next, 
cursing and raving like a maniac. In his thin 
white hand, he held some light hair, which showed 
he had been in conflict with something material. 
When he saw the crowd bending over him, he 
shook this tuft of hair in their faces, and tried to 
rise, but fell back insensible. Then Farmer 
Brown suggested, that while In that state, he 
should be bound with strong cords, and conveyed 
to his house. When they laid hands upon him to 



AMBITION. 39 

bind him, they thought they would let fall the 
sheet, but found, to their great astonishment, that 
he was entirely naked. They wrapped it strongly 
around him, bound him with cords, and carried 
him into the house, while a few went in search of 
the missing peddler. 

When the party reached the old farm-house, 
they laid their insensible burden on the bed of 
poor Ames, and, upon examining the inanimate 
form, it was found to be terribly lacerated. The 
country physician was called in immediately, and 
instantly recognized the poor man as a harmless 
lunatic, the younger brother of Mr. Penn, the 
only aristocrat among the simple countrymen. 

The doctor discovered that there was a severe 
gash near the right temple, and another one just 
behind the ear, which was bleeding profusely. He 
refused to staunch the flow, as the farmer wanted 
him to do ; for, said he : "This is the crisis. When 
he recovers, he will either be a raving maniac or a 
rational being ; but, in the meantime, have you 
found any trace of the fugitive, for the supposition 
is that he has fled ? " 

At this moment, there was heard a heavy groan 
from the bed, and the doctor took the hand of the 
sufferer, and felt the pulse, when a pleased smile: 
lit up his whole countenance, and he proceeded at 



40 AMBITION. 

once to staunch the blood and bathe the face In 
vinegar. Soon the poor man opened his eyes, and 
fixed them intently upon the doctor, who asked, 
gently, '' What is it, my poor fellow? " 

To which he replied : *' Where am I, sir?" The 
doctor was overjoyed when he saw that reason had 
resumed its sway, and told him that he had been 
hurt in coming through the woods. 

He closed his eyes wearily, and seemed to sleep 
all through while his wounds were being dressed. 

The doctor insisted upon Farmer Brown leaving 
the room ; and, sitting with his watch in his hand, 
he awaited the result of his awakening. It was 
a good three hours before he awoke, and asked 
feebly for a drink, which the doctor immediately 
gave in the form of water dashed with brandy ; 
he then inquired of the doctor whether his 
brother was there when he was thrown from his 
horse. 

The doctor humored him in the belief that he 
was thrown from his horse, and sent a message 
forthwith to Mr. Penn to lose no time in coming. 

When the news reached the great house, as it 
was called, they found the utmost consternation 
prevailing there. Some time elapsed before the 
messenger could make them understand that the 
young man was at Farmer Brown's and alive, for 



AMBITION. 41 

they were under the impression that he had de- 
stroyed himself. 

Mr. Penn and his oldest daughter immediately 
repaired to the farm-house, and were met at the 
door by Mrs. Brown, who took them forthwith on 
tiptoe up to the chamber' where lay the beloved 
brother and uncle. The doctor placed his finger 
upon his lips in caution, and they entered in dread 
silence. Mr. Penn grasped the hand of the doc- 
tor, while his daughter approached the bed and 
took up the thin white hand of the sufferer, 
who awoke at the slight touch, and murmured 
''Annie! " 

Annie was astonished at hearing her uncle call 
her name, and threw herself upon her knees, cry- 
ing : " Papa, papa, uncle knows me ! " and she hid 
her face in the counterpane and wept. 

The poor man placed his hand gently upon her 
head, and said, " Why, Annie! I always knew you. 
Why do you weep ? " 

Mr. Penn approached the bed, took his brother's 
hand, and, at a look from the doctor, said : '' Why, 
Will, I am glad to see you are so much better. 
You have been quite ///. 

"Yes," answered the invalid, '*I have had a 
severe fall. Was my horse killed, doctor ? " 

The doctor said, " Oh, yes ; he was killed in- 



42 AMBITION. 

stantly." And the poor fellow said that he was 
sorry, for he valued him highly. 

Annie arose from her kneeling posture, and her 
father handed her a chair, and she sat holding her 
uncle's hand in one of hers, while with the other 
she smoothed back his* glossy brown hair from his 
high marble brow, ever^and anon imprinting a kiss 
thereon, and murmuring, '' God be thanked ! " 

"• Now, doctor," said Mr. Penn, '' I'm thinking 
that your services will be required at our house ; 
for, some time before your messenger arrived, my 
men brought in a strange youth, dreadfully bruised 
and unconscious. My wife and children did all in 
their power for him, and when we left, he had re- 
covered consciousness, and said that he must pro- 
ceed on his journey immediately. But my family 
insisted upon him remaining quiet. He seemed 
extremely nervous, and anxious to get away ; 
but I had my suspicions aroused, so I adminis- 
tered a sleeping potion, and left him under its 
effects. When can my brother be removed, 
doctor ? " 

*' Not for many days, I fear, Mr. Penn. He 
must be kept quiet for at least a week, and must 
not be permitted to see the woods, nor the cham- 
ber wherein he was confined, but we can leave him 
in good hands. I fear nothing serious now, if he 



AMBITION. 43 

remains quiet. We will proceed to your house ;" 
and they left,the house together. 

When they entered the chamber of the youth, 
to the great astonishment of the doctor, he found 
Ames Skiff, the missing peddler, who, when he 
awoke, explained his sudden disappearance In this 
wise : 

He said, that when he reached the woods he was 
accosted by this white-robed figure, and thinking 
it was some one playing a trick upon him, he grap- 
pled with him ; but soon, to his dismay, found 
himself with a madman. The struggle, he said, 
was terrible, and finally, with one sure blow with a 
piece of metal, he laid his antagonist prone upon 
the ground, crawled away from the scene of this 
deadly conflict, and, when at some distance, fell 
from exhaustion. When he opened his eyes to 
consciousness, he was in a comfortable bed, and a 
lady sitting by him, fanning and wiping the blood 
from his face. 




CHAPTER VII 



'' RICHARD IS HIMSELF AGAIN. 

KY close attention and the tenderest care Will 




Penn — the poor, unfortunate lunatic, who 
played the part of the ghost, which nearly 
cost his life-^(and yet that seemingly unfortunate 
affair was the means of making him once more a 
man among men), for the continual flow of blood 
that weakened him nigh unto death, caused reason 
to resume its sway, and in three weeks from the 
time of the occurrence, he was enabled to walk 
among men as their equal. 

Great was the joy and surprise of the family, 
when he was ushered In their midst by his brother, 
who humored him in the delusion that he was 
thrown from his horse and very much injured, and 
the doctor would not allow him to come home until 
he was entirely convalescent. 



AMBITION. 45 

They all agreed that the doctor was right, and 
they each in turn grasped the hand of Will Penn, 
and kindly seated him in a large arm-chair. 

He had scarcely been seated ten minutes when 
Ames Skiff entered, and Annie introduced her Uncle 
Will to him. 

Will shook him cordially by the hand — said he 
was glad to meet him, and the family were over- 
joyed at finding that Ames was not recognized by 
him as his antagonist of that fearful night. 

The evening passed off pleasantly, and after the 
family had retired, Mr. and Mrs. Penn sat by the 
open window, when the following conversation took 
place : 

" I say, little mother! my heart feels as light as 
the down of a thistle to-night — don't yours ? " 

Mrs. Penn laid her white, well-shaped hand on 
her husband's arm, and answered in a whisper : 

'* Now, dear husband, you may judge my feelings 
by your own ; I am very light-hearted and happy, for 
only to think that after three years of fearful ravings 
on the part of poor Will (by a miracle, as it seems), 
to-night he stands before us a rational being ! Oh, 
have we not enouQ^h to be thankful for this nio^ht ? " 

*' Now, dear, I am just thinking how we shall re- 
ward this young fellow ; had it not been for his 
bold repulse and presence of mind, poor Will would 



46 AMBITION. 

not now be a rational being. Now don't you think 
If I make him a present, he will go on his way re- 
joicing? " 

" No, husband ; I do not think it would be suffi- 
cient for such an act and such a young man ; but, 
come, let us to bed, and dream on it." So saying 
Mrs. Penn arose and made preparations for retir- 
ing. 

The next morning all the family were assembled 
at breakfast, with the exception of Ames. Mrs. 
Penn sent a servant to his room to ask if he was 
indisposed ; the girl returned with a note in her 
hand, that she had found lying upon the dressing- 
table. The room had not been occupied since 
the night before. Mr. Penn took the letter, and 
read : 

'* Mr. Penn : — I write these few lines to thank 
yourself and family for the kind consideration 
which has been shown to a poor peddler, who will 
always hold you In the highest esteem and grateful 
remembrance. Please do not think hard of me on 
account of my abrupt departure. I could not think 
of intruding longer upon your hospitality. Adieu. 

-AMES SKIFF." 

" Well, wife, this beats all for a poor peddler. 
There's good blood In that boy's veins. He's no 



AMBITION. 47 

common lad, I tell you. But, this will never do. 
He must be richly compensated. We must find 
him, somewhere. He cannot have such a great 
start of us ; so, after breakfast, we will all join in 
the hunt, and bring the stag to bay." 

Will wanted to know what the matter could be, 
when his brother told him that their young guest 
had suddenly departed for parts unknown, and 
that he was going to mount his fleetest horse and 
go in pursuit. 

After breakfast, they went in pursuit of Ames, 
but it proved fruitless, and by dinner-time they 
returned, completely exhausted with the chase. 

So ended the second disappearance of the gal- 
lant peddler. 





CHAPTER VIII. 

" HE TOLD ME NOT TO TELL. 

E must now leave our hero to wend his 
E way through the intricate windings of 
those dense woods and the narrow passes 
of the mountains alone, with his thoughts of ambi- 
tion arid the recollection of the thrillinof adventure 
with the lunatic, on the first attempt to rid himself 
(as he thought) of a life of indulgence and pleasure. 
It was now about four years since Ames left the 
paternal roof to catch a glimpse of the world. 
The morning after the circus left the little hamlet, 
search was made for him. The mother's quick eye 
noticed something painful in the countenance of 
the pet sister. She questioned the child closely, 
on several occasions, but elicited nothing ; at 
last, the little one gave way to melancholy, and 
refused even her daily food. She became dread- 
fully emaciated. The doctor's services were 



AMBITION. 49 

brought into requisition, when one day he kindly 
took her hand, and told her that if she did not tell 
him what was on her mind that his medicines would 
do no ofood, and she wQuld die, and be buried 
down In the deep ground, and would never see 
Ames again. At this announcement the child be- 
came dreadfully agitated, and told the physician 
that Ames told her not to tell. 

But the good doctor told her that she should be 
exonerated from all blame ; that it was to save her 
life that she must disclose the secret, and the blame 
would rest upon him. 

So the poor frightened child disclosed the (as 
she thought) terrible secret, and the kind doctor 
assured her that no harm should befell her, that he 
would make it all right with her parents ; after 
whlqh he administered a sleeping potion, and soon 
the poor little creature fell off into a doze. 

The doctor went down in the kitchen, where 
Mrs. Skiff was hard at work, and relieved her mind 
of its anxious load, by telling her of the important 
secret the little girl had faithfully kept locked 
up in her heart, while her body was wasting away. 

The great tears rolled down the poor woman's 
cheeks as she listened, for Ames was her favor- 
ite child. 

The doctor tried to comfort her, by assuring her 



5o AMBITION. 

that there was metal enough in the boy to make a 
great man some day ; that he was once with the 
circus, and had never regretted it. 

When the news became generally known, the 
neighbors, of course, passed their several opinions. 
The majority, upon cool deliberation, were unani- 
mous in the belief that Ames would make a great 
man, and that the little hamlet should be proud of 
such a lad. 

The girls of the neighborhood were very kind 
to the child, and every day brought som.e little 
delicacy, and fresh flowers to set her neat little 
chamber off, and under this kind treatment she 
soon recovered. But when she was led over the 
places where -she had last seen her brother, she 
would cover her face with her apron and weep 
aloud ; but, after a while, this wore off, and she re- 
sumed her usual ofaietv. 

One daya letter was received from Ames, telling 
his mother not to fear for him, that he was safe ; 
but it would be useless to look for him, as he did 
not intend coming home until he had made some 
money. 

" Well," said the poor woman, " I must put my 
trust In the Lord, and wait." 



CHAPTER IX. 



AMY SUTTON. 

^ ^N the office of a prominent Western lawyer 
n('/^ ^^^ ^^^^ young men, discussing the current 
^^3 reports of the day. 

'' I tell you what it is, Milton, if that fellow 
comes into the club, it will be the making of the 
boys ; for everything he seems to touch turns into 
gold. I was present when he won that heavy bet, 
lagt night ; and he coolly put it into his pocket, and 
as coolly lighted his cigar, and walked off, as though 
it was an every-day occurrence." 

Milton Smith drew his chair up in front of his 
companion, and leaned over towards him in a 
confidential way, saying, in an audible whisper : 
*' Did you notice with what perfect sangfroid he 
took those papers from Peter Welch, that informed 
him of his heavy losses ? " 

'' I tell you, Milton, that he's a trump worth 



52 AMBITION. 

throwing ; so we had better ingratiate ourselves 
into his favor at once, if we want to do anything 
with him." 

" How old do you suppose he is ? " asked Milton. 

" Why, I should not take him to be over twenty 
at the farthest ; but age matters little, it's the tact 
— the tact the man has, that I admire. We must 
edge ourselves in his way somehow," and as he 
said these words Henry DeBar arose and paced 
the floor uneasily, while Milton Smith still retained 
his seat in silence. 

A timid knock was heard at the door and Henry 
DeBar shouted, *' Come in," when a young girl 
entered. She was dressed very plainly, in deep 
mourning ; the young men could not see her face, 
for she wore a thick veil ; a thin black shawl was 
drawn tightly over her shoulders to keep out the 
intense cold. As she advanced into the room Mil- 
ton arose Immediately and politely offered her a 
chair. 

When she had been seated some time, she asked 
in a sweet voice if Mr. DeBar was In. That gentle- 
man, hearing his name mentioned, came forward 
and told her that he was the owner of that name, 
and would be pleased to serve her in any way. 
She said that she was looking for employment, 
and had been referred to him. 



AMBITION. 5^ 

Henry stood before her, playing with his watch 
chain, trying hard to get a gHmpse of her face, for 
he thought that a woman with such a sweet voice 
must have a pretty face. And the ruse that he 
resorted to was to ask her to give him a sample of 
her writing. He immediately placed pen, ink, and 
paper before her ; of course, she threw back her 
veil, and Henry gave a perceptible start when he 
beheld such exquisite beauty ; but when she took 
the old black kid glove off her hand, he was sur- 
prised, to say the least, at the symmetry and white- 
ness of it, as she took the pen from his hand. 

After she had given him a specimen of her pen- 
manship, she drew on the old glove and let fall her 
veil, much to the disappointment, of Henry, who 
was perfectly captivated with the fair vision. He 
examined the writing and said he was much pleased, 
a.nd he would certainly employ her. She arose 
and thanked him ; then ventured to ask him if 
he would send the writing to her house, which 
he gallantly promised to do, and Amy Sutton took 
her leave, after giving him her address. 



CHAPTER X. 

HENRY IN SEARCH OF ONE THING FINDS ANOTHER. 



^ XT was on a stormy day in December that 
^n^. Henry DeBar sat in his cozy office, read- 



ing the morning paper. The night be- 
fore a most brutal and unprovoked assault had 
been made upon one of the " American Club " (of 
which Henry was a member) while going through 
an unfrequented place. The watchman, hearing 
faint cries for assistance, hurried to the spot from 
whence they proceeded, and found a man standing 
over the prostrate figure, with a long shining dirk- 
knife ready to strike the already lacerated victim. 
The watchman crept up behind him, and quick as 
lightning, threw the uplifted hand aside ; and the 
man did not stop to secure the weapon, but took 
the benefit of the time offered, and made his es- 
cape. The watchman called for help, lifted the 
wounded man, who was unconscious ; and with 
the help of two stout men carried him into the 



AMBITION. 55 

nearest house, which was readily opened to re- 
ceive the unfortunate. The ugly dirk knife was 
found and brought in the house also. A physician 
was called in and dressed the wounds, which were 
pronounced not fatal. . 

The next morning, the papers were teeming with 
the news of the " murder of Ashton Moore," and at 
an early hour, the house where the wounded man 
lay, was literally besieged by inquisitive people. 

Henry DeBar was horrified ; he laid down the 
paper and took from its peg his great brown over- 
coat, buttoning it tightly up to his chin, setting up 
the fur collar to protect his throat, and started out in 
the storm to find, as best he could, the place where 
his friend lay. 

He had not proceeded far when he was accosted 
by a little girl, who touched him upon the arm 
with her thin wan hand, and, in a sickly, trembling 
voice, asked for a few cents to buy her starving 
little brother and sister food. 

Henry was about to pass on, so deeply engross- 
ed was he thinking about his friend, when he en- 
countered a pair of the mildest blue eyes, one min- 
ute only, for the next they were closed, and the starv- 
ing girl fell prone upon the frozen ground. Henry 
rushed towards her, but it was too late to keep her 
from falling. 



56 AMBITION. 

There lay before the strong, well-fed man, aheap 
of raos, for it did not seem like a human beinor. The 
hand that had arrested his progress was a little at- 
tenuated thing ; the features were pinched with 
distress and hunger. Around her slight figure was 
wrapped a piece of a shawl, and her feet were in- 
cased in a pair of thin slippers, tied up at the heel 
with a string. 

Such was the little waif that Henry DeBar picked 
up in his strong arms, and carried back to his ofhce, 
where he laid her upon four chairs that he made 
into a bed ; he sprinkled her face with cold water 
and rubbed her little hands ofentlv, until he was re- 
warded by seeing the child open her wonderful 
eyes, and look intently upon him. She essayed to 
speak, but was too weak. 

Henrv bethouorht him of some wine that he had 
in his closet, and he soon held a glass to the trem- 
bling lips of the little girl. To his great delight, 
she seemed to revive and wished to tell him some- 

thinor. 
<_> 

He kneeled before her, takinor her litde hand in 
one ^of his, while with the other he gently raised 
her head, saying : '' Now, little one, tell me all you 
want to tell ; I'll stand by you, don't be afraid." 

'' Sir, will you take me home ? My little brother 
mav be dead now. I came out this morning to get 



AMBITION. 57 

a little something for him to eat, but everybody that 
I asked pushed me roughly off, and when I met 
you, I thought you were going to do the same. 
Oh ! I am so thankful that you did not ;" and the 
confiding little half-starved creature clasped her 
hands together, and raised her eyes to heaven, say- 
ing : '' Oh, my mother ! why did you not take me 
with you when you left this world ! '^ 

Henry was deeply affected, for he had never 
been brought face to face with gaunt poverty before. 
He took the waif in his arms and held her little cold 
feet to the cheerful fire, until they were nice and 
warm, then he arranged her snugly in the chair, 
so that no accident would happen before he re- 
turned ; told her to lie perfectly quiet, and he 
closed the door gently and was gone. 

When he returned he brought a thick pair of 
shoes, a nice warm pair of stockings, and a large 
warm cloak ; he then placed the little waif in a car- 
riage which was filled with eatables, wdiich made 
her open her blue eyes in astonishment. The 
great tears chased each other down her wan cheek, 
and the little head sank back on Henry's breast, 
who told her that she should have a big brother 
now, as well as a little one. 

By this time, they reached the miserable house. 
When the carriage stopped, Henry took the waif 



58 AMBITION. 

in his arms and carried her up two or three pairs of 
old rickety stairs. When they entered a sad specta- 
cle met his eye. Upon a pallet of straw lay a mere 
skeleton of a once beautiful boy. And on the bare 
floor beside him lay a little girl of three years, who 
had fallen asleep crying for bread, but not a crumb 
could be seen. 

Henry had made provision for the little mother- 
less ones. At the noise which the party made enter- 
ing (for the coachman had brought the things out 
of the coach) the baby awoke, and immediately 
tottered to little Maggie, laughing and holding 
on to her ; the boy opened his languid eyes, and 
uttering one word: ''Sister," closed them again 
seemingly to all earthly objects. 

The coachman, who was much affected, ran for 
fresh w^ater, which Maggie told him where to find. 
In the meantime, she gave the baby some cake, 
which quieted her directly, for she was only hun- 
gry- 

When the coachman returned, Henry dashed 

some water with brandy, which he had brought, and 
gave it to the poor boy, then washed his face and 
hands in brandy and water. The little fellow was 
soon resuscitated, and, seeing his services were no 
longer wanted, Henry gave Maggie a few dollars, 
and charged her not to go out again until" she 



AMBITION. 59 

heard from him. Seeing a good pile of chips 
in one corner he knew that they would not 
freeze, and he had brought enough with him for 
them to eat. So he kissed them all, and carefully 
descended the old rickety stairs. Henry did not 
go back to the office, nor did he go in search of 
the wounded friend. But the coach turned down 
a quiet street, and stopped at the door of a small, 
neat brown cottage. He stepped out, and knocked 
at the door, which was opened by our sweet friend. 
Amy Sutton, who blushed as he handed her his 
hand, for hitherto Henry had been very reserved 
with her. Whenever he would bring her writing, 
he would merely bow, and give directions about the 
work and leave. 

Amy was surprised at his cordiality, and when 
he craved a few moment's private conversation, she 
wondered what it could be. 

However, she was soon relieved of all embar- 
rassment, for he frankly told her that he had 
assumed the responsibility of three orphan chil- 
dren, and begged her to leave off writing and take 
full charge of them. He said he knew it was a 
great responsibility, but he would compensate her 
well, and he knew that she would love the little 
family. 

She promised that she would visit them with 



6o AMBITION. 

him the next day ; he pressed the Httle hand, and 
with a God-bless-you, left the house. 

At an early hour the next morning, Henry went 
in search of his wounded friend, whom he found in 
a precarious condition. Several members of the 
club had offered a large sum for the apprehension 
of the would-be murderer, but, as yet, no clue was 
found. It was certainly not for gain, for his watch 
and money were found upon his person. 

We must leave this affair entirely surrounded in 
mystery, and see some other parties whom we have 
lost the trail of for some years. 




CHAPTER XI 



^w^^ 



THE PENN BROTHER^. 



ig^r^lLL PENN was sitting in the library one 
C%^ morning, before a cheerful anthracite coal 
fire, into which he was gazing as if he ex- 
pected some one to leap out of It. His large New- 
foundland dog, '' Prince," lay stretched out upon 
the hearth-rug, his eyes were blinking at the fire, 
and every now and then he would lift his large, 
heavy ears, as though he heard a far-off step. 

Presently, Will Penn said : '' What is it, Prince? 
Is he coming ? " 

Prince arose slowly, and shook his shaggy coat, 
then approached his master and laid his head upon 
his knee. Will patted him fondly, when suddenly 
Prince sniffed and whined, then gave a bound 
towards the door, and scratched and howled to 
get out. 

By this time Will's quick ear caught the sound 



62 AMBITION. 

of carriage wheels. He opened the door quickly, 
when Prince sprang out of it, and dashed down 
the road, barking furiously, while the voice of his 
master was heard saying : " What is it, Prince ? 
what is it ? " 

At that moment a loud report of a gun rang out 
clearly, and Prince came back limping and howling 
most piteously. 

When he saw his master, he laid down at his 
feet, as though he was dead. 

Just then the carriage drove up, and as a gen- 
tleman alighted. Prince (who was only playing pos- 
sum) leaped upon him. The gentleman patted 
him kindly, and the next moment was folded in his 
brother's embrace. 

Thus was Mr. Penn welcomed to the ancestral 
hall, after an absence of two years. 

Soon everything was in confusion. The family 
were all ready to greet the noble-hearted man. 
His wife sobbed aloud upon his bosom, for no one 
expected ever to welcome the master home again. 

Three months previous they received the sad 
tidings that he had died at sea, and was buried 
deep down 'neath the ocean wave, and the unhappy 
family had mourned him as dead, therefore they 
rejoiced as though he had come from the jaws of 
death. 



AMBITION. 63 

The face of Will wore a smile that had not been 
seen there for years ; and as they were seated at 
the tea-table, he informed his beloved brother that 
he was going to marry Miss Clara Howland, the 
regal beauty and belle of S . 

Mr. Penn was greatly pleased at this intelligence, 
for he had no fear of the return of the terrible 
malady which had seized his brother years before. 
He knew him to be generous, loving, and brave, 
and any woman might be proud to call him hus- 
band. 

Mrs. Penn inquired of her husband, some days 
after his return, if, in his travels, he had seen any- 
thing of the lad that had brought such happiness 
to their household. 

He shook his head, and said, sadly : "I am 
afraid he met with an untimely death ; for no one 
saw him after the morning Will came home to us." 
So the subject of Ames was dropped, as Mr. Penn 
said that he would like to offer a reward for him. 





CHAPTER XII. 




THE WEDDING. 

HE stone church was crowded to excess 
on the morning of the marriage of Will 
Penn, for both the bride and groom were 
known far and near, and beloved. They were 
kind to the poor, who were ready to strew their 
pathway with flowers. 

The church-clock struck eleven, as the wed- 
ding party wended its way up the aisle, and 
stopped in front of the altar, where the father of 
the bride gave his beautiful and only daughter to 
the keeping of the noble Will Penn. 

After the solemn rite of matrimony was over, 
they kneeled before the venerable minister, who had 
held the bride in his arms (as an infant at baptism) 
twenty- eight years before ; and now he spread his 
hands over her to bless her as a bride. The 
blessing had been pronounced, the happy couple 



AMBITION. 65 

received the congratulations of their friends, when 
a young man made his way to where they were 
standing, and Mr. Penn grasped his hand and 
exclaimed : " It Is Ames ! it Is Ames ! " 

Immediately all was In confusion. Everybody 
pressed around Ames ; for it was the gentleman 
in person. 

Will was one of the first to welcome him, for his 
brother had already told him that when he fell 
from his horse, Ames rescued him, and Will was 
always ready and willing to show his gratitude, he 
therefore cordially grasped his hand, and invited 
him to join the bridal party at his home, which 
Ames gladly accepted, for he had his eyes fixed 
upon the gentle Annie ; and when he offered her 
his arm, she blushed and thanked him kindly, so 
Ames knew that he was not forgotten. 

The day wore off pleasantly, and, long after the 
guests had departed, Mr. Penn, Will, and Ames 
were seated in the library, when Mr. Penn ques- 
tioned Ames about his affairs. 

Presently Will said : " Ames, I owe you a debt 
of gratitude ; may I pay it now ? " 

Ames said quickly, '' I was not aware of any 
such debt, sir." 

Mr. Penn said : " Ames, I hope you will take no 
offense ; but will you accept the small sum of three 



66 AMBITION. 

thousand dollars to enable you to lay the foundation 
of a fortune?" 

Ames stood up and leaned upon the back of a 
chair, saying, with spirit : '' Sir, I acknowledge your 
kindness, but will not accept your offer. I am an 
American, and thus far have earned my own liv- 
ing. I commenced life as a circus boy, but now I 
am proud to say that I have amassed quite a com- 
fortable sum. Think no more, gentlemen, of your 
indebtedness to me ; it was paid while I lay help- 
less under your roof. I am now doing well In a 
Western city, and nothing brought me here but to 
get a glimpse of my sweet and gentle nurse. Miss 
Annie, and by your permission I will take my leave 
early In the morning." 

So saying, they all arose, and bidding each other 
good night, separated, when In the morning Ames 
departed as mysteriously as he had come. 




CHAPTER XIII 




THE HAPPY FAMILY. 

'^HEN Henry DeBar called upon Amy Sut- 
^- ton, she met him with a bright smile, and 
he gallantly handed her into the carriage, 
which, after he had seated himself by her side, was 
driven rapidly to the miserable abode of the or- 
phans. Amy shuddered as she ascended the rick- 
ety chairs. When they reached the door Henry 
tapped gently, but receiving no answer opened it 
softly. 

A happy sight met their gaze : before a bright 
chip fire sat Maggie in a wooden rocking chair, 
with the little baby In her arms, singing and rock- 
ing, while the little one caught her face In Its hands 
every time she went back. The boy lay upon the 
pallet, a bright red spot upon each cheek ; 
his eyes were large and mournful, but they 
were earnestly fixed upon the little figures In the 
chair. 



68 AMBITION. 

Henry and Amy stood upon the threshold, and 
gazed intently upon the litde orphans. When Mag- 
gie looked up she gave a scream of surprise and 
delight, put down the baby and ran towards Hen- 
ry, Avho folded her in his strong arms, then placed 
her hands in those of Amy, introducing her as 
the lady who was going to take them to a new 
home. He then went to the boy, who raised 
himself upon his elbow, and grasped the friendly 
hand. 

Amy soon made friends with Maggie and the 
litde prattling baby, while Henry called upon the 
woman who rented the room. She told him a sad 
story of the family : 

'' About two years before a poor widow with a 
young baby rented the room, and paid the rent for 
one month, when the litde family were installed in 
their new home ; she took in sewing, but soon con- 
sumption sowed its dreadful seeds, and it became 
apparent that the poor woman was not long for 
this world. The neighbors were kind-hearted, and 
they divided their litde store, and gave her all their 
spare time, for they had to work very hard. 
Nothing could be done to save her life, and 
within the year she died, and was buried by the 
corporation. 

- I let the children stay, but the landlord urged 



AMBITION. 69 

me for the rent ; said he should put us all out on 
the street. When I told him it was the poor dead 
woman who owed it, he came several times, and at 
last got mad and made an officer come in and take 
everything and sold it. The boy took on dreadful, 
and now you see it is all that brute's fault — so it is," 
and the poor woman wept. '' I've took care of them 
poor little children, and didn't know nothing about 
that child going begging, until she told me last 
night what a good friend she had found." 

'' Now, my good woman," said Henry, who was 
much affected, " how much rent do you want ? " 

'' Oh, sir, do you think I would be so mean as 
to take a cent from them ; motherless children — 
they're welcome to the wretched home — I only wish 
I could do better by them, I thank the good Lord 
for sendinof them such a kind friend." 

" I know those little ones will pay you for your 
trouble ; may God bless you and them too." 

He thrust a note in the good woman's hand, 
as he grasped it to thank her for the miserable 
shelter she had given the children, and without 
which they would have fared worse. 

Before the astonished woman could reply, Henry 
was gone. 

When he came back In the room, he told Maggie 
whatever little thing she wanted to bundle up in a 



70 AMBITION. 

counterpane, and he would send for it, but the}- 
must all come with him in the carriaee. 

He lifted the boy gently, and dressed him in his 
rags, then wrapped him in a quilt and carried him 
to the carriage ; then went back for the baby, 
when he met Amy with the little one in her 
arms, and Maggie with her arms full, trotting 
along by her side, laughing and talking. Henry 
took the baby and placed it in the carriage ; soon 
the rest entered and were driven to their new 
home. 

The delight of the children was very great when 
they saw their cheerful home. 

Mrs. Sutton was much affected by the story of 
the orphans, and resolved to rear them as her own 
children, saying that God had given them in place 
of those he had robbed her of, for she had none 
but sweet Amy. 

After this Henry was a constant visitor, for, said 
he, laughing, " Have I not a famil)' ? I feel two feet 
taller than I did last year." 

He performed his part nobly. The poor widow 
could not keep the children, but as Henry in- 
curred the expense of board and clothing until 
they could help themseh'es, they were well taken 
care of 

Henrv thought it was too much for Amy to write 



AMBITION. 71 

and take care of the children, so he allowed her the 
same and did the writing himself. 

Now, as the children have found a mother in 
Mrs. Sutton, an aunt in Amy, and an uncle in 
Henry, we will leave them, to look after the wounded 
man. 




CHAPTER XIV. 



THE ARREST AND TRIAL. 



T^f^ SHTON MOORE lay moaning piteously, 



f^ 



but was still unconscious. People came 
in upon tiptoe and stood around the suf- 
ferer's bed. Bills were posted about offering 
a reward for the would-be assassin. The dirk- 
knife was closely examined, and bore evidence of 
having a name erased from the handle ; but, by 
some chemical process, the name was brought out 
in bold relief — G. F. Mattson. 

When it became known, every one was shocked, 
for Mattson was the bosom friend of the wounded 
man, and had been absent from the city for three 
weeks previous to the assault ; but, unfortunately, 
returned that very evening, and was seen in 
company with Ashton. All that could be done 
was to arrest him and await the recovery of 
Ashton. • 



AMBITION. 73 

Great was the consternation of Gilbert Mattson 
when the officer entered his room and arrested 
him ; and great, Indeed, was his Indignation at 
hearing that he was accused of so foul a crime. 
Although he strenuously denied the charge, and 
wept bitterly at the fate of his friend, the officer 
had no pity, for the tempting bait was constantly 
before his eyes. He led him off In triumph, rudely 
pushed him to his cell, like a criminal, and left him, 
to report that he had the assassin In custody await- 
ing the morning light, so he could be brought be- 
fore the maoristrate. 

When Henry was made aware of the facts of the 
arrest of their mutual friend, his Indignation knew 
no bounds. He found several members of the club 
around the magistrate pleading for the release of 
the prisoner, but the old man was inexorable, and 
pointed to the circumstance of the dirk with the 
name upon It. 

After their ineffectual attempt to rescue their 
friend, the young men repaired to the club-house 
to discuss the matter in question, where, to their 
great surprise, they found Ames Skiff, who had re- 
turned from his flying visit to the little village of 
M — , where he witnessed the wedding of Will 
Penn. 

Ames had been an eye-witness to the assault. 



74 AMBHIOX. 

He arose and warmly grasped the hands of 
the new-comers, and bade them be of good cheer, 
for he alone was enabled to clear their mutual friend. 

" But where have you been all this while, 
Ames ? " inquired Henry DeBar. " Come, give 
an account of yourself, old boy, or you may be ar- 
rested next." 

" Oh, never fear for me, I can easily swear an 
alibi. Now let us part, for by my faith, we will 
want our breath as long as we can keep it ; but, to 
change the subject — where is Milton? " 

" Oh, he has been down with the typhoid fever 
for some time," said Henry DeBar. 

Here they were interrupted by a messenger 
from the sick-room. Ashton became conscious, 
and the first person that he called for was Ames 
Skiff. 

The doctor sent for the young man immedi- 
ately, thinking that he could unravel the mystery. 

In due time Ames arrived, the wounded man re- 
cognized him at once, and beckoned to him feebly. 

Ames approached the bed, took his friend's hand, 
and leaned over him tenderly,'to catch his faintest 
whisper. 

'' I saw him, Ames, don't let him get away ; he 
took those papers. Gilbert ! Gilbert ! .why have you 
forsaken me ! " cried the poor man. 



AMBITION. 7 5 

Ames tried to make him understand that his 
friend was called suddenly away, and did not know 
of his illness, but directly he arrived, he would 
bring him to him. 

It seemed not to comfort him, and the doctor, 
seeing his extreme agitation, came forward, laid his 
hand gently upon Ames's shoulder, and told him to 
step aside ; then he gave Ashton a sleeping potion, 
and he soon fell off into a doze. 

When the doctor questioned Ames closely he 
said that he would answer dny interrogation in the 
court room, but did not feel at liberty to answer in- 
dividuals. ; 

Every attention was paid to Ashton, and in three 
weeks he was able to attend court. 

When Mattson stood up to answer the charge, 
Ashton gave a terrible shriek, and fell senseless 
to the floor. All was confusion in a moment, 
while some gentlemen carried the lifeless form of 
Ashton out of the room. 

Ames's eyes fairly blazed with indignation, as he 
saw the prisoner fall back pale and trembling. He 
look keenly at an officer who stood by, and gave a 
signal, when he tapped a young man upon the 
shoulder, and said in a loud voice : " McMurdy, 
in the name of the law, I arrest you for assault with 
intent to kill." 



CHAPTER XV 



CONTINUED. 



iWtxV HEN the arrest was made, people were so 
'Q%^ surprised, they stood speechless for some 
'^'' ' ^ moments. 

McMurdy was a handsome young man and an 
acquaintance of Ashton Moore ; he moved in the 
first society, but was well known to have an un- 
governable temper. 

The prisoner was placed at the bar, and all was 
silent as the grave, when Ashton was brought in 
and confronted him. 

Ames Skiff was immediately placed upon the 
stand and testified to the fact, that as he was pass- 
ing a certain place, his attention was arrested by 
hearing a loud and angry altercation ; being familiar 
voices to him, he stood under the awning of the 
store, to shelter him from the storm, which was 
then raging. 

After waiting some time for the persons to come 
out, the cold became so intense that he was forced 



AMBITION. ']'] 

to seek shelter and warmth in the Httle grocery, 
and some time elapsed before he again made his 
appearance. He stood at his post a little while, 
listened attentively, but not hearing any sound of 
voices, he buttoned his coat up closely, and set 
forth to weather the storm. He had not proceeded 
far, when the cry of murder struck upon his ear, 
and he hastened to the spot, when, to his horror, 
he saw the prisoner bending over the fallen man, 
turn the body over, and snatch a bundle of papers, 
and was about to strike another blow, when a 
watchman approached, and threw the uplifted dirk 
aside. Throwing up his hands, the prisoner leaped 
from the grasp of the watchman and escaped. 

Upon being confronted with the wounded man 

and Ames, the prisoner confessed his guflt and 

exonerated Gilbert Mattson, saying that he found 

• the dirk in an old desk that Mattson once had in 

his office. 

The meetinof between Gilbert and Ashton Moore 
was affecting in the extreme. 

Upon the recovery of his papers, Ashton with- 
drew the charge, and Clarence McMurdy soon 
left the scene of his disgrace. 

It was a long time before poor Mattson recov- 
ered from the shock ; but time is a panacea for 
all ills. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



THE BALL OF THE AMERICAN CLUB. 

WN the night of the twenty-second of Febru- 

p";|- ary following the assault, there was a grand 

^w^ i^^ji giyQ^ {^ honor of the occasion. The 

Apollo Hall was most tastefully decorated with 

flags and flowers. The wealth and beauty of the 

growing city was well represented. 

Ah, why this confusion ? It was caused by the 
entrance of our young hero, Ames Skiff, with a 
lovely fair-haired girl leaning upon his arm. His 
face was beaming with good humor, his honest blue 
eyes twinkled with pleasure. He had neither 
mustache nor whiskers, and therefore one had a 
full view of his magnificent teeth, and the bewitch- 
ing dimple in either cheek, that made his counte- 
nance look for all the world like the sun bursting 
out from under a cloud. 



AMBITIOX. 79 

As the handsome couple advanced Into the 
room, they became the cynosure of all eyes, and it 
was whispered, " I wonder who the fair one can 
be?" and ''Isn't she lovely?" " Why have we 
never found this out before?" "Ah! Skiff Is a 
sly fellow, anyhow. He generally monopolizes the 
beautiful," and all such sayings went round the 
room, unheeded by Ames and his companion. 

Now, let us see who this young lady was that 
caused this commotion. 

A few weeks previous to the ball, as Ames was 
passing down the principal street, his attention was 
arrested by hearing his name called by a sweet, 
musical voice. Turning quickly, he found himself 
face to face with the speaker, and simultaneously 
they Issued the words : 

''Brother!" "Sister!" He clasped her to his 
breast. After the first rapturous feeling between 
the brother and sister had subsided, Ames drew 
her hand within his arm, and led her to his home, 
where she remained In private, until she burst 
upon our sight In all her maiden beauty. In the 
ball-room, as a bright meteor, to the utter surprise 
of everybody. 

No one, of course, had ever seen her before that 
night ; but we have, for this Is the same little one 
who had kept the secret of Ames's running 



8o , AMBITION. 

away with the circus, until It nearly cost her 
life. 

But, to proceed. Ames was very proud of his 
sister, for she. was the very embodiment of grace 
and refinement, and was dressed with exquisite 
taste. Her robe was of black velvet, with low cor- 
sage ; her ornaments were diamonds, which was a 
present from her proud brother. For, be it remem- 
bered, that he Is no longer a peddler, but a junior 
partner In a large house In C, and has gained this 
exalted position by his Indomitable energy. But, 
again I am digressing. 

The brother and sister joined the set that was now 
forming; and. In fact, led off the dance, after which 
Ames found her a seat, where they enjoyed a nice 
little tete-a-tete, when, on looking over the mul- 
titude of familiar faces, he recognized his friend, 
Ashton Moore, and, excusing himself, mingled In 
the crowd, and was lost to view for some moments, 
when he reappeared, arm in arm with the hand- 
some Ashton, whom he introduced to his sister. 

After a little pleasant conversation, Ashton pre- 
vailed upon her to dance, and giving a hint to 
Ames to select a partner for himself, he took the 
queenly Eliza In triumph away. 

To say that Ashton admired Eliza Skiff would 
be saying very little. He was completely capti- 



AMBITION. 8 1 

vated, and as he escorted her to her carriage, he 
pressed her hand gently, with the promise (at 
Ames's invitation) to call the next day. 

When the carriage rolled off, Ashton re-entered 
the ball-room, but found there was a blank before 
him. He roamed about like something lost, and 
soon took his leave. When he arrived at home, 
he found that he was minus that most essential 
article, a heart. 




CHAPTER XVII. 




AT THE CLUB. 

ELL boys, 'tis now ten o'clock ; and he has 
not deigned to honor us with his pres- 
ence as yet," said Henry Debar, as he 
leaned back in his chair and looked at his old- 
fashioned but magnificent watch — an heir-loom of 
his family. 

''Now, Henry, you are well aware that this par- 
agon of yours has a time and will of his own. He 
gave us his word that he would meet us here to- 
night ; let that suffice. You know he'll keep his 
word, if it is midnight ; so let us pass our time in 
singing and praying, if it will be agreeable." 

At this last clause of the speech of Milton 
Smith, there was a general burst of merriment. 
Just then, the door was flung open, with a quick 
hand, and our hero made his appearance, followed 
by Ashton Moore. It was soon noticed that they 
were in evening costume, and, to the surprise of all, 



AMBITION. 83 

said they had just come from the house of a 
mutual friend, who had stolen a march upon 
them by having a quiet wedding, and only those 
two gentlemen were privy to it. 

After the excitement of their arrival had sub- 
sided, they drew their chairs around the table, 
and were engrossed in conversation which I will 
not attempt to follow, as it is business. As they 
arrived at a definite conclusion, it is none of my 
affair. 

They had been seated thus, for at least two 
hours, when Ames looked at his watch and gave a 
low whistle of astonishment, and sprang to his 
feet, saying, ''By Jove! I had no idea it was so 
late." 

In an instant every one had his watch in his 
hand, and each asked the other : " What of the 
time?" 

Henry Debar cried out, '* I'll bet that not two 
of our watches will run the same." 

'* Done !" said Ames, and the others bet like- 
wise. True enouorh, no two watches run the same, 
so Henry won the bet, and coolly put the money 
in his pocket, saying, laughingly : 

" Well, brethren, let us sing the doxology and 
close the prayer-meeting." 

With this they all arose, and Henry gave out : 



84 AMBITION. 

' ' There was three crows sat on a tree, 
As black as any crows could be." 

" Sing, brothers, sing, in long metre," continued 
Henry, and they sang out clearly ; and, appar- 
ently overcome with the excitement, sank quietly 
into their chairs and remained so for some 
time. 

When the town clock struck one, Milton Smith 
started up stealthily, approached the table, and 
gave three loud knocks, exclaiming in tragic tones : 
"'Tis past the witching hour of night." 

They all sprang to their feet, rubbed their eyes 
as though they had been asleep, and made good 
their escape through the door which was held open 
by Henry Debar. They separated at the door, 
each to dream of 

"His castles in the air." 





CHAPTER XVIII. 

THE SURPRISE. 

ARLY in the month of May, when Nature 
had donned her robe of green, and Spring had 
decked her head with flowers (which were 
fresh with the morning dews), and made them 
ghsten Hke so many diamonds, a Httle rosy-cheeked 
girl, and a delicate boy might be seen early in the 
morning, gathering flowers by a little babbling 
brook, on the outskirts of the city of C. 

One morning, while the children stood by the 
brook, throwing stones into its clear depths, they 
were accosted by a tall, elegantly dressed gentle- 
man, who inquired the name of the little girl, as he 
handed her a beautiful flower. 

"My name is Maggie Ashton," said the little 
girl, who was none other than our little friend whom 
Henry DeBar had saved from starving on that cold 
December day. 



86 AMBITION. 

The gentleman gave a perceptible start as the 
little child emphasized " Maggie Ashton." 

He repeated mechanically, " Maggie Ashton," 
*' Ashton, my little girl ? where does your mother 
live ? " 

''My mother lives up in heaven, sir. Did you 
know my mother ? " and Maggie raised her large 
blue eyes up to his face. 

The gentleman sat down on the bank of the 
stream, and leaned his head upon his hands, ap- 
parently in deep thought. Maggie crept up to him 
and laid her chubby hands upon his knees, saying, 
softly: "What makes you so still ; don't you want 
me to stay near you ? Must I take my brother 
away?" 

The stranger clasped her in his arms, pushed 
back her long, beautiful hair, and throwing her head 
back, scrutinized her features keenly. When he 
seemed satisfied, he kissed her several times, and 
cried : '' Yes, 'tis she, 'tis she, oh ! I am at last 
repaid, thank God." And the poor man wept like 
a child, as the boy and girl kneeled before him, try- 
ing, In their childlike simplicity, to comfort him. 

Maggie arose from her kneeling posture, and 
stood before the bent figure, saying, like a little 
woman : 

" Well, I don't know what you mean by that 



AMBITION. 87 

— 'tis she, 'tis she! but If you will just come 
home with us, my auntie will tell you that I am 
Maggie Ashton, and nobody else, and this is my 
brother, Ernest Ashton, and I've just got a baby 
sister, and her name is Lulu Ashton ; and 
our mother has been dead nearly two whole 
years." 

" There, there, my little one, I will go home 
with you — come ! " and the stranger arose, gave 
each of the children a hand, which they took, and 
In this way they reached the house. 

Kind Mother Sutton had just started in search 
of the children, who had overstaid their time, but 
as she saw that they had company, and she had not 
been seen by them, she went in another direction 
to make some necessary purchases before entering 
the house. 

As they neared the house, Maggie released her- 
self from the hand that held her, and darted in the 
open door, screaming at the top of her voice, 
"Auntie, aiuntie, do come here! I've caught a big 
fish — do come, quick ;" Amy came running out 
of the kitchen with her sleeves rolled up and her 
hands full of flour, crying " Where is it, darling?" 
and before she was aware she ran against the 
stranger, who gave a start of surprise. 

Amy raised her eyes to his face, and gave a 



88 AMBITION. 

scream, and would have fallen had not the stranger 
caught her in his strong arms. 

When Mrs. Sutton returned, she found all in 
confusion. Amy was stretched upon the sofa, the 
children crying and calling upon auntie, dear auntie, 
to awake. 

And the stranger kneeling by the side of Amy, 
bathing her temples with vinegar, which the ser- 
vant had brought him. 

When the children saw her they ran to her, cry- 
ing, " O, Mamma Sutton, he's killed auntie, he's 
killed auntie," and they both screamed aloud. Mrs. 
Sutton led them from the room and closed the 
door between them, but she could hear them still 
moan and cry, " My auntie, my dear auntie." 

When Mrs. Sutton returned the stranger arose 
and uttered one word, '' Millie". She rushed into 
his arms and cried out, *' My long lost brother." 
Thus, after years of separation, those two loving 
hearts were re-united. Poor Amy, in the mean- 
time, recovered to be the witness to this scene. A 
groan from the sofa arrested their attention, and 
Frank Hardy left his new-found sister to attend to 
his lovely niece. He lifted her gently and placed 
her upon her feet, when she threw her arms around 
his neck and wept upon his breast. 

In the meantime the children were admitted, and 



AMBITION. 89 

were overjoyed at having a new uncle. Maggie 
criedj wildly : '' Oh, I am so glad you did not kill my 
auntie." 

Soon Frank Hardy was left to amuse the chil- 
dren while the mother and daughter made ready 
the breakfast, which had been forgotten during the 
excitement of the unexpected meeting, but all 
enjoyed so much at the proper time. 

" Now," said Frank, after he had heard the tale 
of the suffering children, "they will suffer no more 
while I have a dollar. She lives over again in 
Maggie." But Maggie could not comprehend what 
he meant. 




CHAPTER XIX. 




THE ENGAGEMENT. 

HILE the happy family yet lingered around 
the tea-table that evening, there came a 
well-known ring at the door, when Mag- 
gie rushed from the table saying, '' There's Uncle 
Henry," and opened the door to admit Henry De- 
Bar, who, of course, had been a constant visitor 
since the introduction of the children. Amy arose 
and blushingly welcomed him, then turned to her 
Uncle Frank and introduced him as the children's 
protector, when the little magpie of the family 
spoke up quickly and said : '' Uncle Frank, Uncle 
Henry is auntie's beau, ain't that funny ? " 

At the child's remark poor Amy crimsoned ; 
but Henry laughed at the shrewdness of his pro- 
tege, while he shook hands with Frank, and as- 
sured him that he was much pleased to make his 
acquaintance. 



AMBITION. 91 

In the meantime the officious little Maggie had 
turned up an extra plate, which was always placed 
for Henry, and taking his hand pulled him to his 
seat. He never could find it in his heart to rebuke 
the little motherless thing. His whole soul seemed 
to be wrapped up in her. He often vowed that, 
come what would, he never would part from her. 
His love was reciprocated, for her quick ear could 
discern his step among a hundred afar off, and 
her great eyes would beam with delight at his com- 
ing. When he was not there at a certain time she 
would neither eat nor sit down, but would pace the 
floor, and, every now and then, watch from the 
door until she saw him coming ; then the change 
that would come over the lovine little grateful 
thing was truly marvelous. Thus she showed her 
love for her kind protector ; the boy loved him 
none the less, but was less demonstrative. 

As Maggie seated Henry, she took her place 
next to him, much to the amusement of Mr. Frank 
Hardy, who said that he wished that it was he 
instead of Henry, to the delight of that young 
bachelor, who gave a sly look at the head of the 
table, where sat the presiding divinity, in the act 
of pouring out his tea. 

Well, Henry partook of a hearty meal, after 
which he took Maggie upon his knee, and let her 



92 AMBITION. 

pull his mustache and sIde-whIskers to her heart's 
content. She would put one little finger upon each 
of his eyes, and then call out : " Now, uncle, you 
can't see me." 

When the tea-things were all cleared away, they 
were joined by Mrs. Sutton and Amy ; but, much 
to the latter's surprise, Henry insisted upon having 
a private conversation with her, that there was a 
matter of vital importance to settle. Amy arose 
and led the way into the neat little parlor, where 
she wheeled an arm-chair in front of the window ; 
but, to use a vulgar but appropriate phrase, Henry 
couldn't see it, for he gently put his arm around 
the fragile form, and clasped her to his bosom, much 
to the astonishment of poor, blushing Amy, who 
could not articulate one word. 

" Be not frightened, by birdie, my intentions are 
honorable, I'll assure you ; come, sit you down, my 
lady fair." And he gallantly led her to the sofa, 
and seated himself beside her, saying : " Now lis- 
ten, Amy, I am about a tale to unfold that may, 
but it should not surprise you in the least. It is 
this, not a very new story, to be sure, to the world, 
but for me to say that I love you (there, it's out), 
it is ; now, what have you to say in return, my 
Amy ? " and the impudent fellow actually took her 
hand, and pressed it to his lips. 



AMBITION. 93 

Nothing was said for some time, when Henry 
whispered : " Come, my dading, what do you say 
to my uncouth wooing ; shall I, or shall I not wear 
the jewel that I so highly prize ? " 

Amy hid her blushing face in his bosom, while 
he murmured : '' Bless you, sweet one, I am an- 
swered." He raised her head gently, and imprint- 
ed his first kiss uport her pure brow, then took the 
little white hand again, and slipped a brilliant soli- 
taire upon the engagement finger. 

Amy ventured to say : " Oh, Henry, you have 
forgotten that I have a mother and uncle to con- 
sult, and — and — that I am only a poor girl. What 
will people say ? " 

" Why, Amy, dear, am 1 not able to fight against 
public opinion, so long as I have you as a reserve ? 
And, as for your mother, she loves me as a son 
already ; and, darling, then this orphan boy will 
find a mother too," and he gave her a long, pas- 
sionate kiss, then carried her before her mother 
and uncle, who were playing games with the chil- 
dren. Mrs. Sutton was surprised, but gave her 
full consent ; and Frank said, If he were to judge 
from outward appearances, it would certainly be in 
his favor, and the two shook hands cordially. 

When everything was settled, Henry kissed 
the baby, whom Mrs. Sutton held In her lap, and 



94 AMBITION. 

Maggie hung around his neck, kissing his face and 
eyes, good-bye, as she said. 

As the clock struck ten, he took his leave, and 
as Amy gave him her hand at the door, he stole 
a kiss, and before she could remonstrate, he v/as 
gone. 





CHAPTER XX. 

THE MYSTERIOUS GUEST. 

N a luxuriously fitted up chamber, upon a 

'-'^^ crimson velvet couch, reclines a young 
girl of some sixteen summers. Her face is 
oval, and marvelously fair, while it is framed with 
a profusion of glossy black hair, which nearly 
reaches her feet, in rich waves. Her coral lips are 
slightly parted, just enough to display her pearly 
teeth. Her eyes seem to be dark wells of mys- 
tery ; they are fringed with long, heavy lashes, 
which partially veiled their mysterious depths. 

Thus, silently, she remained for some time, 
when some new thought seemed to possess her, 
and she arose hastily, looked at her little jewelled 
watch, tapped her tiny foot Impatiently upon the 
rich velvet carpet, murmuring : 

''Why, oh, why, does he tarry so long! Jt is 
now past his usual hour, and yet he comes not." 

Hark ! that is most assuredly his step, and she 



9^ AMBITION. 

Struck a listening attitude. As the step approached 
the door, she quickly resumed her listless position 
upon the couch, and in the next instant the door 
was softly opened, and Ames Skiff stood with the 
knob in his hand, gazing at the beautiful sleeper 
(as he thought) in admiration. 

As she did not stir at this interruption, he 
cautiously advanced towards the couch, and bend- 
ing gently over the fair vision, he imprinted a kiss 
upon her marble brow. 

At the touch of those lips, she started to her 
feet in seeming indignation at the intruder, but 
when she saw Ames standing penitently before 
her, the cloud of indignation passed away, and she 
smilingly extended her white jewelled hand for 
him to kiss, which he did in gallant style (as he did 
everything). Now, I must say that Rosa Lynn 
(for it was the little circus-rider) was a most con- 
summate actress, as we shall see. 

When Ames seated himself beside this queen 
of beauty he thought of her only as a sister ; and, 
taking her little hand pressed it playfully ; then, 
lifting the mass of black hair put it around his 
shoulders, saying that he knew that now he had a 
strpng halter around his neck. 

'' Would it break the proud neck to have it 
for life ? " said she, archly. 



AMBITION. 97 

'* Well, yes ; I fear It would, little Rosa. I 
never Intend to wear a halter around my stubborn 
neck," and Ames laughed heartily as he stole 
another kiss from the ruby lips. But, to his utter 
surprise, she pushed him rudely from her and 
stood with flashing eyes and heaving bosom before 
him, saying, angrily : 

"Beware how you trifle with me, Ames Skiff! 
When you were a poor circus-rlder you gave me 
your protection ; but now that you are a junior 
partner, you insult me ! " 

Ames leaped to his feet In a moment and con- 
fronted her, his blue eyes fairly emitting flames of 
fire. 

'' Why, Rosa Lynn ! what mean you ? Did 
you ever know me to offer an Insult to a lady ? 
Speak truly ! or, by heaven, I will leave you this 
moment, never to set eyes upon your fatal beauty 
again." 

Rosa quailed before the angry flashes of fire 
from the blue eyes of the hitherto passive being at 
her side. When she found that he had Indeed 
thrown off the halter from his neck, she thought it 
best to conciliate him ; therefore, she placed her 
hand upon his arm, looked up In his face, and 
said : 

"Ames, let us be friends ; I was mad — mad with 



98 AMBITION. 

jealousy when I spoke to you of Insult. Oh, you 
can never know the terrible pang at my heart, 
every time I saw you walking or riding, when this 
fair woman was by your side. And still, Ames-, 
you told me that you would never be fettered or 
wear the halter of matrimony." 

"Ah, Is that the cause of this outburst?" said 
Ames, as he removed the little hand. " Then, let 
me ease your mind, Rosa. That fair creature is 
my Idolized sister." 

Rosa gave a start, and screamed out : 

"Your sister! Ames, dear Ames, forgive, for- 
give, me ! " and she fell in a dead faint at his feet. 

Poor Ames was a little frightened at the turn 
affairs had taken, but had presence of mind enough 
to lift the Inanimate form, and place It upon the 
couch, when he bathed her brow in water, and 
rubbed the little cold hands. 

As he was kneeling by her side, she opened her 
eyes, and fixed them upon him Intently. 

"What Is It, Rosa?" asked Ames. "Can you 
sit up now ? " and he placed his hand under her 
head, and raised her up gently, saying : 

" Now, darling little one. It is growing late, and I 
must leave you, but do not want to leave you In 
this condlt'.o.^.." 

" Oh ! you need not fear now. I have completely 



AMBITION. 99 

recovered. But, Ames, let me hear fromx your lips 
that you are not angry with me ; that you love me 
still," and she hid her face upon his shoulder, and 
wept. 

Ames tried to soothe the trembling girl, by say- 
ing : " Rosa ! I have often told you that I loved 
you as well as I do my own sister. Is not that suffi- 
cient ? It is the only love that I can give. Will 
you not rest upon that love ? Now, cheer up, little 
one. You shall never want while Ames has a dol- 
lar in this world. Now, bid me good-night, and 
promise me that you will be a good girl ; " and he 
led her towards the door, kissed her, and was gone. 






CHAPTER XXI. 

THE BETROTHAL. 



HILE Ames was passing a stormy evening 
with Rosa, quite a different scene was 
being enacted beneath his own roof. The 
spacious drawing-room was well filled with the 
young people of his set. He had been one among 
the gayest during the first part of the reception ; 
but, remembering his promise to Rosa, at a certain 
time, made good his escape. 

As he always did things up in fine style, so it 
was on this occasion. The trimmings were of gold 
and crimson. The handsome mirrors reflected the 
gorgeous dresses of the ladies, as they whirled past 
in the dance. In the centre hung a magnificent 
chandelier, which made the scene dazzling and 
grand in the extreme. Delightful music filled the 
room. 

This party was given by Ames to his sister on 
the eve of her departure for home ; and many of 



AMBITION. lOI 

the young people who had formed her acquaint- 
ance brought Httle gifts of affection, which the fair 
recipient acknowledged in fitting terms. 

Eliza looked regally beautiful that night. She 
wore a dress of dark blue silk, trimmed with point 
lace. Her jewels were pearls. Her golden hair 
was braided and bound around her head in Egyptian 
style. 

Very proud was Ashton Moore, as the beauty 
leaned upon his arm, while they promenaded the 
room, the observed of all observers. 

Ashton drew her attention to a divan near the 
window, which was partially hidden by the drapery, 
and whispered : " Come, dearest, I have a secret 
to impart. Will you not lend a listening ear? " 

" Will it not do as well, dear Ashton, to tell it 
under the gas-light? " said she roguishly, tapping 
her fingers with her delicate pearl fan, a present, 
by the way, from the lordly Ashton Moore. 

By this time they had reached the seat in ques- 
tion, when Ashton gallantly seatod his lady fair, 
and, toying with her fan, she bent her imperious 
head and listened to his oft-repeated declaration 
of love. 

When she raised her head, he saw that her face 
was suffused with blushes, as she tremblingly said : 
" Mr. Moore, I hardly think that you can mean all 



I02 AMBITION. 

you say, for the simple reason that there are so 
many fair ones more worthy of your love than I." 

''Nay, Eliza! I have weighed you in the bal- 
ance and found you ' not wanting,' " said Ashton, 
bending his proud head to catch her answer. " Say 
that you love me, and that you will take me for 
better or worse, and I'll rest content." 

The blushing girl replied, in the faintest whisper, 
*' I do love you.'' 

Those few words were enough for Ashton. He 
took the little unresisting hand in his, and the 
almost inaudible words, " God bless you," were 
heard only by herself 

As she thought it a duty to her guests that she 
should not absent herself so long, she prevailed 
upon her lover to mingle again in the crowd. 

*'Just draw off your left glove, Eliza, dear. 
I want to tell my fortune." 

Eliza drew off the dainty glove, when he slipped 
a brilliant cluster diamond ring upon it, saying, 
proudly : '' Thus I chain you to me for life." 

"Oh, Ashton!" she exclaimed, ''how is this? 
I only said that I would always love you, and, per- 
haps, some day we might be united. Do you forget 
that I leave this scene of so many happy moments 
to-morrow, at early dawn ? Why have you delayed 
this momentous question until the last moment ? " 



AMBITION. 103 

'' Ah, Eliza, you forget, or perhaps do not know, 
that I leave America in three days, not to return 
for one year. So I put off all important questions 
intentionally. For, had you refused me, I would 
never have cared to set foot upon my native shore ; 
but, as it is, I will count the days that will bring me 
home to claim my bride. So, as that question 
is settled, we will rejoin our friends, for I am 
supremely happy. Ah, here is Ames ! " And as 
they arose, they were confronted by that young 
gentleman, who had just returned from his stolen 
visit to Rosa. 

As Eliza raised her hand, Ames recognized the 
ring that Ashton had shown him soon after the 
assault made upon him. He knew it was an old heir- 
loom ; had been a betrothal ring in the family for 
generations. Ames looked from one to the other 
for an explanation, but neither gave it. Eliza 
drew on her glove, took the arm of her handsome, 
dark-eyed lover, and left the wondering Ames to 
seek a partner for the dance that was just forming. 




CHAPTER XXII. 



THE STEAMBOAT DISASTER. 



HE moon shone brightly upon the waters 
r^M of the grand old Mississippi, as the 
^ ^ steamer Granville walked upon it, '' like 
a thing of life." The band playing a national air, 
as the old star-spangled banner floated proudly 
to the breeze, who, to gaze upon that lovely scene, 
would think that death was near to many ? Such 
is life, in the midst of which we are truly in death. 
The Granville had not been out more than 
three hours before she was overtaken by a hand- 
some steamer, called the Warning, a very singu- 
lar and most inappropriate name, for she carried 
destruction and death with her without the least 
warning. 

When the Warning came steaming up the 
river, everybody rushed upon deck, for well they 
knew she was bound for a race with some 
vessel. 



AMBITION. I05 

She came up handsomely, and the two steamers 
were alongside of each other. When the cap- 
tain of the Warning shouted through his trum- 
pet to the captain of the Granville to make ready 
for a race, the passengers remonstrated, but the cap- 
tain put on steam, and in a twinkling the two 
steamers were skimming over the waters as if they 
were being chased by some evil spirit. 

The betting ran high by the excited male pas- 
sengers, while the women and children were called 
to go into the cabin. Some of the most timid were 
glad to take shelter these but some again were 
greatly excited, and remained upon deck. Among 
those who remained was our hero Ames Skiff, 
and near him stood the beautiful and courageous 
Rosa Lynn. 

Ames urged upon Rosa to withdraw, but she 
said she was fascinated by danger and she would re- 
main if he did so. They had not been more than 
twenty minutes eagerly watching the race, when a 
terrible crash was heard, and the Granville keeled 
over on her side. The confusion was fearful. 

Women screaming and praying, and strong men 
cursing and praying alternately ; the deck hands 
lowering the boats, and the captain shouting through 
his trumpet. All this had a dreadful effect upon a 
young invalid lady who was seated upon a stool 

G 



I06 AMBITION. 

by the side of an aged gendeman, widi her face 
covered with her hands ; she was trembhng Hke an 
aspen. 

Ames had presence of mind enough to throw his 
arm around Rosa, who clung to him, crying wildly: 
'' Save, oh! save me, Ames! I do not want to die. 
I cannot, will not die." 

Ames hurriedly caught up the fragile girl with 
one hand, and Rosa with the other, when the poor 
girl frantically cried out : '' Oh, sir ; let me go and 
save my father ! " But the old gentleman seemed to 
regain his youth, and said : '' Nettie! Nettie! come, 
I'll save you child! " and he was about to snatch 
his daughter from the strong arm of the young hero, 
when she clung to him with her little remaining 
strength, and Ames, seeing the danger of waiting 
another moment, rushed past the old gentleman, 
telling him to follow or he would be lost. 

They just reached the lower deck in time to 
jump into the last boat, which was already filled. 
They had hardly left the steamer when she sank ; 
the captain and deck hands jumped into the water, 
and were rescued by a passing boat. And the 
Granville found a resting-place 'neath the waves of 
the Mississippi. In the meantime Ames reached 
the shore with his charges, and found comfortable 
quarters for them. 



CHAPTER XXIII 



AT THE CLUB. 




HEN the news of the disaster and the loss 
of the Graiiville rtdic\\Q.d the city ofC, the 
consternation was very great, for a great 
many persons had relatives or friends on board. 

At the club-room of the "■ American," one by one 
of its members took his seat in- silence. In a short 
time the door was thrown open by Henry DeBar, 
who entered with a paper in his hand. All arose 
to their feet in a moment to hear the news whether 
good or bad. 

*' Gentlemen," said he, '' I fear there is no hope, 
" for — listen "-;-and he read from an evening sheet : 
"■ The race between the Granville and Warning 
proved a most calamitous affair ; owing to the mis- 
management of the Granville, and the large num- 
ber of passengers she bore', it was found that all 
must go down with her. Several attempts to save 



io8 



AMBITION. 



the women and children were made, but proved 
ineffectual. The heroism of young Ames Skiff of 
C. was worthy of note. In trying to save two 
ladies he lost his own life. The last seen of him 
was, he was making a superhuman effort to reach 
the shore, and would have done so, had not the 
poor frightened women held on to him so tena- 
ciously. He was seen to clasp them tightly to his 
noble breast and sink to rise no more." 

As Henry finished reading he leaned his head 
upon the table and groaned aloud ; every man 
there either did the same, or hid his face in 
his hands to shut out the terrible vision. Milton 
Smith cried out : *' Oh, Ames ! Ames ! why did 
you leave us ? He, the noble, lion-hearted Ames, 
has sacrificed his young life. He was always 
foremost in danger ; he knew not the meaning 
of the word fear ; he was generous to a fault ; 
although he had the strength of a lion, his heart was 
gentle as a woman's ; he did not sympathize with . 
the afflicted with empty words, but always with his 
purse open. The poor he made glad always by his 
generous deeds, and the wealthy were ever ready 
to welcome him for his bright genial disposition. 
I pray heaven we will not have to mourn our noble 
friend, gentlemen ; that this report may be, like 
many others, without the least foundation." 



AMBITION. 109 

When Milton had ceased speaking the young 
men answered with reverence, '' May God grant it." 

It. was some hours before the members of the 
American Club regained their composure, for from 
the first of Ames's coming among them he was a 
favorite. 

Although a perfect stranger two years before, he 
had endeared himself to many by his noble daring 
and his genial companionship. 

As we have seen already, this rumor was false, 
for, when Ames had gained the shore with several 
others, the noble vessel had sunk beneath the 
treacherous waves, and the Warnings which was 
damaged severely, turned off in her crippled state, 
with her deck crowded with excited men, gazing 
at the wreck their madness had made. 

For some time after the landing the greatest 
consternation prevailed among the ladies, for not 
a steamer hove in sight, and darkness was creep- 
ing on. 

The old gentleman, too, became very trouble- 
some ; for he could not believe that his daughter 
was unhurt. It seemed too great a miracle for the 
frail girl to stand the shock. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 




HOW THE SUFFERERS WERE RESCUED. 

HEN night spread her dark mantle o'er 
the earth, and spangled it with glittering 
Stars, which seemed to wink and blink in 
their watch over the poor unfortunates, Ames, with 
two others, went in search of something to make a 
fire. Soon they returned with their arms full of 
brush, and lighted a fire, which they kept up all 
night. Towards morning, the Ti^enton, one of the 
grand floating palaces of the Mississippi, hove in 
sight, and the sentinel on duty gave a signal, which 
was returned promptly. 

In a moment all was confusion. The men had 
to go some distance for the ladies, who were 
sheltered in an old barn, but had already heard the 
welcome shout as the watchers beheld the vessel 
rounding in, and many a heartfelt '' thank God ! " 
issued from those trembling lips. 



AMBITION. I I I 

Soon the steamer landed ; the men, who were 
ever ready to help the unfortunate, threw out the 
plank with alacrity, and those on shore met them 
half way with their precious freight. 

When they were about to draw in the plank, the 
captain, who was standing* near, turned quickly, 
and found himself face to face with our hero. 
He started perceptibly, and cried out :' '' Do my 
eyes deceive me, or is this Ames Skiff? " and the 
jolly tar grasped the hand that Ames extended to 
him, saying : " Ye gods ! my boy, where did you 
drop from ? how came you in this lonely region ? 
for, of all places along the banks of this glorious 
river, this is the most forlorn. I had no idea, my 
boy, when I ran into port, of seeing anything but 
a party of vagabond negroes, who often hail us on 
our passage down, or lure us on with their beacon 
fires. Well, Ames, my boy, I am confoundedly glad 
to see you ; it does my eyes good, I tell you, boy. 
But, I declare, how handsome you have grown! 
Why, boy, I can scarcely believe you to b^ the 
little towheaded rascal I used to know," and the 
good- hearted captain rattled on for some time in 
the same strain. 

Ames told him exactly how it happened, and 
jolly captain made an awful long face when 
he heard of the loss of the stately Grafiville, 



112 AMBITION. 

and exclaimed : '' Well, if there is not something 
done to stop this reckless racing, we will all find 
ourselves some of these fine days taking a dive be- 
low, to listen to 

' What are the wild waves saying. ' 

Now, as we have so strangely met, after a separa- 
tion of so many years, we may, in all probability, 
meet often, so I will leave you at Vicksburg as you 
desire, and will keep a keen lookout for you, for I 
have strong ideas that you may turn up, one of 
these fine days, in the White House at Washing- 
ton. Indeed, I hope so, boy ; for if honesty and 
energy are to have its reward, I know before these 
old eyes are closed, I will have the pleasure of 
grasping the hand of Ames Skiff, President of 
the United States." 

Ames smiled and bowed his head. Just then 
preparations were being made to land, and he 
merely had time to thank the captain and look after 
his friends, when the plank was thrown out and 
was soon crowded with visitors for Vicksburg. 



CHAPTER XXV 



THE AVOWAL AND SEPARATION. 






URELY Ames, you will not desert me for 
that fragile girl ? I, who have known and 
loved you ever since you were a boy. She 
loves you for your position and fine appearance 
only, and because you saved her life." And as she 
spoke those words, the fair speaker clasped her 
tiny hands upon the folded arms of Ames, and 
looked wistfully up into his thoughtful face, await- 
inof his answer. 

Some few moments elapsed before he uttered one 
word. Then he said kindly, but firmly : '' Rosa, 
what right have you to dictate to me what or who 
I shall love ! Is it not enough for you to know that 
I love you only as a sister ? I have often told you 
that nothing but death shall ever sever that 
bond." 

" But, Ames, I am not content with such love. 



114 AMBITION. 

I want you to love me with that burning intensity 
of feeHng with which I love you." 

" Nay, Rosa, do not proceed, I beg of you," said 
Ames, sternly, as he unfolded his arms, and shook 
off her hands. " I will not encourage •}'our think- 
ing of such a thing, it will only wound your self- 
love, and place me in an embarrassing position. I 
have never made rash promises. I have always 
told you that you shall have my entire protection 
and support so long as you need it ; will not that 
suffice, tell me, little one ? " and Ames softened 
his mood, and leaned gently over the drooping 
form, parted the raven curls from her pure white 
brow, and imprinted a kiss of friendship upon it. 

Poor Rosa threw her arms around his neck, and 
cried frantically, " Ames ! Ames ! why cannot you 
return my love ? I love you to idolatry ! You 
are my life, my world ! I fain would die here at 
your feet," and the infatuated girl threw herself 
upon her knees, and clung to him in utter despair. 

He lifted her gently, and seating himself by her 
side upon a sofa, said, in a low, soft voice : *' Rosa, 
you ask that which is not mine to give. You are 
brilliant and handsome ; I admire you, and would 
defend you with my life, if need be, as quick as I 
would one of my own family, but my heart is not 
mine to give ; it was given long ago to a sweet 



AMBITION. I I 5 

maiden far, far from here." As he uttered these 
words, Rosa sprang to her feet, and confronted 
him ; her large eyes flashing fire, her cheeks as red 
as flame, she cried : 

"It is enoucrh — beware ! " and before Ames 
could detain her, she reached the door, and was 
gone. 

Ames paced the floor of the 'elegant room 
some time after, musing upon the sudden turn of 
affairs, when he suddenly faced himself in the mir- 
ror, saying, " Well, Mr. Skiff, I really think you 
had better pay your bill, and make yourself scarce." 
He brushed his hair from his brow, and continued : 
" I wonder why she loves me ; it certainly is not for 
my good looks. But I must not leave her so, she 
might do some harm to herself." So saying, he 
left the room, and ascendinor two flights of stairs, 
came to the room occupied by Rosa, who, to his 
great surprise, was hastily packing her trunks. As 
he approached, she hardly deigned to notice him. 
But he was not to be put off in this way. He 
placed his hand upon her shoulder as she was 
kneeling before a trunk, and said : " Rosa, why 
this sudden change ? Have you made up your mind 
to go back to C. with me, or will you continue your 
journey to Grand Gulf? • I am at your service 
either wav." 



Il6 AMBITION. 

She arose and answered, haughtily : " Mr. Skiff, 
I will continue my journey alone — or, rather, I can 
dispense with your gallant services." 

*' Now, Rosa, that, of course, is optional with 
yourself ; but remember, my dear girl, whenever 
you stand in need of a friend, hesitate not one 
moment to call upon me, for I still adhere to my 
promise -given to the little orphan circus-rider years 
ago." 

" 'Tis well you remember so well, Mr. Skiff," 
said she, as she mockingly bowed before him. " I 
think our interview is at an end, sir," and she ad- 
vanced towards the door, opened it, and stood with 
the handle in her hand, as if to invite the intruder out. 

Ames saw that he had aroused all the evil in her 
nature, and with a smile as mocking as her own, 
approached the door, extended his hand, which she 
coolly took, and bade him farewell, while he, in turn, 
coolly walked out of the room, with the words : 
*' Good-bye, little Rosa ; God bless you wherever 
you go." 

When she closed the door, she took good care 
to lock it. Then she threw up her hands, exclaim- 
ing: " O God ! I have driven away the only true 
friend I have upon earth ; what shall I do ! WHiat 
shall I do ! " and the poor unfortunate girl crouched 
on the floor in agony of spirit. 



AMBITION. 



117 



So we must leave her and follow Ames, who 
immediately went to the office of the hotel, paid his 
bill, and ordered his luggage to be sent on board 
the steamer bound for C. He then paid Rosa's 
bill, and left a note for her in care of the gentle- 
manly clerk, and turned his back upon Vicksburg. 




CHAPTER XXVI. 

THE SUDDEN RETURN. THE GLAD SURPRISE. 

|^»/'XCE more we find our hero pacing the deck 
&^ of the Sibyl, another of the grand float- 
ing palaces of the Father of Waters ; but this 
tune he is alone ; the bright moon lights up the 
lovely and grand views, as the noble vessel skims 
over the water. Xo accident mars the pleasantness 
of the homeward trip. Merry sounds of revelry 
ascend from below, soft music floats upon the mid- 
night air, from a little select party at the end of the 
upper deck,, and all seems happy and gay, as the 
bells strike twelve. There is no thought of sleep 
upon that boat, except by a few elderly people, who 
had long since retired into their state-rooms, and 
were soon lulled to sleep by the motion of the 
Sibyl as she skims over the blue waters. 

As Ames leaned over the railings, leisurely smok- 
ing his cigar and watching the curling smoke as he 



AMBITION. 119 

blew it off, yet listening to the soft music, as it was 
wafted in gentle murmurs to his ear, his thoughts 
would stray back to the lonely, but imperious wo- 
man he had left behind in a strange city, and he 
spoke aloud: " I wonder why she spurned my offer 
of protection ? Was it indeed jealousy ? Did she 
object to my little simple acts of courtesy to the 
unfortunate invalid who was thrust so unceremo- 
niously upon my care and notice? Bah! I must say 
to those thoughts ! Avaunt^ — intrude not upon my 
privacy, let her go her own way, and I'll henceforth 
rid myself of all responsibility ; she has spurned my 
services, let it remain as it is," and he yawned and 
went below. 

Nothing of note transpired until the vessel 
reached port, at early dawn, when everything 
was in confusion. Our hero soon had his luggage 
put upon a carriage, and seating himself told the 
driver to drive to the Ashton House. Upon arriv- 
ing at which, he was surprised to find a group of 
young men standing upon the piazza, engaged in 
earnest conversation at so early an hour. As he 
alighted from the carriage, he was recognized by 
one of the group, who sprang forward with " My 
God! there is Ames Skiff, alive !" and forthwith 
grasped our hero by the hand, and carried him into 
the house in triumph, the others following; all of 



1 20 AMBITION. 

them were surprised and overjoyed at seeing him 
again, for as they said ; " They never did expect to 
have him among them in the flesh again," so they 
pinched him to see if, indeed, he was a ghost or 
mortal. 

They soon found that he was mortal by seeing 
him devour the savory breakfast that was set be- 
fore him. 

After breakfast they annoyed him greatly with 
questions, which he waived, telling them that *if 
they would promise to keep his coming among 
them secret, and meet him at the club-room at nine 
o'clock in the evening, he would relate his adven- 
tures, and also his miraculous escape. They prom- 
ised secrecy, and separated for their different labors. 

That same evening, while they were discussing 
the events of the day, the door was thrown open, 
and, to the surprise of all, except the four friends 
who had seen him in the morning, Ames Skiff ad- 
vanced into the centre of the room. 

Henry DeBar and Milton Smith alone kept their 
seats. Their senses seemed paralyzed. They were 
utterly unable to articulate one sentence. Every 
man else started to his feet at once, thinking it 
was a vision. Some stood with one hand shadincr 
their eyes, and with the other grasped the back of 
their chair. The silence was painful, until Ames, 



AMBITION. 12 1 

in a choked voice, cried out : *' My friends, it is I, 
have you no word of, welcome for me ? " 

Immediately the spell was broken, and several 
stepped forward and grasped his hand, saying : 
" We indeed thought it was your spirit ; for we 
had mourned you as dead. Thank God we once 
more see you in the flesh ! We bid you a hearty 
welcome." 

'' Thanks, many thanks, my kind friends." Then 
turnincr to those two friends who sat in their chairs 
like petrified men, he said, holding out his hand : 
" Have you no word of welcome for me ? " 

The sorrowful tone in which this question was 
asked seemed to arouse them to their senses, and 
they grasped his extended hand, and exclaim^ed : 
" Ames, Ames, we extend a hearty welcome ! " 

After this, order seemed to have been restored 
among them, and our hero stood before them, 
at their request, and related his misfortunes and 
escape. 

At a late hour the club separated, with many 
thanks for the safe arrival of the favorite. 

Just before the breaking up of the meeting, they 
all arose, and surrounding Ames, drank to his 
safety and future happiness, each in his turn bid- 
dinof him a kind eood-nig^ht. 
6 




CHAPTER XXVir. 



THE ALARM. THE RESCUE AND ITS RESULTS. 



>E:|pHE next morning the papers were teeming 
i^^ with the news of the miraculous escape and 

safe arrival of our hero. 
While he was at his breakfast at the hotel, all 
eyes were fixed upon him, for everybody had read 
of his arrival, and were prepared with keen glances 
of curiosity, which he bore with modesty and. man- 
liness. 

Many that were strangers before sought and 
received an introduction, and congratulated him 
upon his heroism in the hour of danger. One old 
gentleman said, as he shook him cordially by the 
hand : " Well, sir, I have heard of you in my far- 
off home, and now have the unexpected pleasure 
of taking you b}^ the hand ; but I hope the next 
time I have this pleasure it will be in the White 
House at Washington, for, if virtue and bravery 



AMBITION. 123 

t 

will ever have Its reward, the people will not be 
satisfied until they raise you to the highest posi- 
tion It Is In their power to give." 

Ames blushed, and laughingly said, that was the 
destiny he had marked out for himself, when he 
ran away from the circus, but since he had become 
a man, he knew what such castle's In the air were 
worth. 

Although, by his Industry and perseverance, he 
had accomplished so much, he mistrusted his abili- 
ties to gain so high an eminence ; that he felt highly 
flattered by the encomiums bestowed upon him, and 
aeain thanking the old crentleman, he made his 
escape from the throng of idlers. Scarcely had he 
reached the front door of the hotel, when the cry 
of " mad-dog " reached his ear, and looking in the 
direction from w^hence came the dreadful sound, he 
saw a large Newfoundland dog, belonging to a 
friend of his, running at full speed up the street, 
snapping at everything It came In contact with. 

Just then two young ladies with a little boy came 
around the corner, and the dog, foaming and snap- 
ping, ijiade straight for them. At this terrible mo- 
ment, three young men reached the spot, and the 
foremost one ran near the side of the animal and 
fired. Seeing It did not take effect, he brought 
down h'ls piece with full force upon Its head, which 



1 24 AMBITION. 

had the effect of bringing down the monster, while 
the two companions fired upon him, and the once 
noble but unfortunate brute lay dead at their feet. 

While this terrible scene was being enacted, 
hundreds of persons that witnessed it, put their 
hands over their ears to shut out the sounds of the 
heartrending screams of the poor affrighted women, 
who were so miraculously saved from a most horri- 
ble death. 

Neither of them fainted, but were conscious of 
their danger, and thankful for their timely delivery 
from certain death. And when they tremblingly 
turned to thank their noble deliverers, one of them 
cried out : " Oh ! oh! it is Ames Skiff! " and not 
until then, did senses forsake her, when she would 
have fallen, had not the noble Ames caught her in 
his arms, and, amid vociferous cheers from the ex- 
cited crowd, bore her (followed by the other 
lady and boy) into the ladies' parlor of the hotel. 
He laid her gently upon a sofa, and called for re- 
storatives, then left her in the care of the ladies, who 
vied with each other in doing good for the poor 
frightened woman. 

When Ames returned to the main entrance of 
the hotel, he w^as received with shouts and waving 
of handkerchiefs, which he acknowledged with a 
modest bow, and made way for his two brave com- 



AMBIIIOX. 125 

panlons, who were being congratulated on every 
side. Those two brave men were none other than 
our old friends, Henry DeBar and Milton Smith. 

After giving directions to a poor laborer to re- 
move the carcass of the poor brute, that it should 
not meet the eyes of the ladies as they came out, 
and rewarding him for his trouble, Ames turned 
his back upon the excited multitude, and re-entered 
the parlor, when all made way for him, as he 
advanced towards the sofa, upon which sat the 
young lady whom he had rescued. 

She arose and gave him her hand, and with the 
greatest agitation, said : " Thank you, Mr. Skiff, 
for saving my life, and the lives of those I 
love ! " 

With scarcely less emotion than she manifested, 
he took the extended hand, and bowed over 'it 
with reverence, then said, in a low, but manly 
voice : " I am only too proud to be the humble 
deliverer of one I prize above all on earth. Annie! 
I am glad to see that your humble friend is not 
forgotten." 

As the ladies, who had been most kind in their 
endeavors to resuscitate the gentle girl, found their 
presence was no longer required, they modestly 
withdrew, offering their services, if further needed. 

Ames still held the hand of the gentle girl, who 



126 AMBITION. 

blushed deeply. When he said he was glad he was 
not forgotten, the reply was given in a low, musical 
voice : 

" Mr. Skiff, I have never forgotten the great ser- 
vice which you rendered my unhappy uncle. If 
you were to see him now in his happy home, sur- 
rounded by his lovely children ! The oldest boy I 
have now with me, and it was he whom you rescued. 
Oh; have not I enough to hold you in grateful re- 
membrance ? Now, do I not owe you my own life ? " 

At this declaration our hero seemed emboldened, 
and as he was seated beside her upon the sofa, he 
leaned over, and taking the little white hand within 
his own, said, as he gently pressed it : 

" May I claim that life as my reward, sweet 
Annie ? I have waited years for this hour, and 
bless this accident, as it has not resulted fatally. 
Am I too bold in asking that all-important ques- 
tion?" and his head bent lower, as he earnestly 
asked : " Annie, will you be my wife ? Encourage 
me, and I am yours for life. Repulse me, and I 
will not intrude upon you ever again. I am an 
honorable man, and ask the simple, but all-impor- 
tant question, which only awaits your answer, yes, 
or no. Which will it be, Annie?" 

Annie whispered, while her face was suffused 
with blushes, '' Yes ! " 



AMBITION. 127 

'' Bless you, dearest. But tell me, is this a debt of 
gratitude, or love ? I will be proud of my treasure 
if it is gratitude that prompts the bestowal of your 
hand, but will not rest content or be happy without 
your love," and his arm somehow stole around her 
waist, and she leaned her blushing face upon his 
broad shoulder, as she faintly answered, '' Ames, I 
have loved you long years ago ! " At which can- 
did avowal Ames pressed her to his noble heart, 
and imprinted his first kiss of love upon her rosy 
lips, crying, excitedly, " Mine, 'mine at last! " 

So we must leave them in their revelry of love's 
young dream. 




CHAPTER XXVIII 



M)^^ 



THE DOUBLE SURPRISE. 



i^frS Ames was sitting alone in his office one 
(fy stormy day, long after his betrothal, the 



door was thrown open, and his friend 
Henry DeBar advanced to where he was sitting, 
without the least ceremony, and said, in an ex- 
cited manner : 

" Ames, are you aware that Clarence McMurdy 
has returned, and is now at the Ashton House? 
There are crowds waiting upon kim. They say 
that he has returned from the mines immensely 
wealthy. Don't you think that we ought to wait 
upon him immediately, with the earnest desire that 
he should leave the place in less than twenty-four 
hours, for you know that he has committed an out- 
rage upon society ; therefore should be removed 
without delay." 

Our hero heard his friend through without the 
least interruption, then, taking his cigar from his 



AMBITION. 129 

mouth and slowly shaking off the ashes, said coolly, 
much to the astonishment of his irate friend : 

" Well, the fact is, Henry, I feel a little too 
happy to meddle with other people's business. 
Xow, look here, old fellow! This offense was com- 
mitted a long while ago, and as it did not prove 
fatal, why should we pursue him further ? Per- 
haps he still suffers from the sharp sting of remorse. 
Who knows? But, as we expect to be forgiven 
some day or other the offenses done in the body, 
wh)', my boy, we must forgive our fellow man. Take 
all things into consideration : this Is a free country, 
and he has a right to return; and we were furiously 
angry at the time we exiled the poor wretch ;. for, 
as you say, an outrage had been committed against 
society, and we set ourselves up as righteous vindi- 
cators of said society. Now, after years, by some 
streak of luck, he returns with a large fortune ; let 
us welcome him as a penitent, if he shows any 
contrition for what he has done. Now, listen, old 
fellow. I am the most fortunate man about. I have 
secured the prize that I have longed for many 
years. Why, Henry, did you think that while we 
were chasing the rabid dog, I was meeting my 
fate ? I say, old boy. 



There's a divinity that shapes our ends, 
Roi 
6* 



Rough hew them how we will.' 



130 AMBITION. 

'' So here goes ! I am soon to be married, and 
want you to act as groomsman." 

" Give us your hand, old boy," and Henry 
grasped the hand of his friend eagerly, saying, at the 
same time, that he asked too much, for he was 
to be married himself on the next evening, but as it 
was going to be a very quiet affair, he did not in- 
tend to let any one know until they were apprised 
of the all-important fact through the medium of the 
press. 

It was now Ames' turn to be surprised, and con- 
gratulate his friend, saying: "Ah! you have a 
young family to go straight to house-keeping with, 
while I will have to wait long years for such happi- 
ness." 

" Yes, thank Heaven !" said Henry, " they have 
been under the best tuition for three years, and I 
am not ashamed to bring them forward into so- 
ciety. Little Maggie will be a shining light, I'll 
assure you ; she has a magnificent voice, and has a 
quick ear for music ; she already plays well ; that 
new uncle of hers never seems tired of gazing into 
her sweet face, but moans continually about her 
being just like her mother was when she was her 
age. I think he must have been in love with her, 
and being disappointed, left the country until his 
grief was assuaged. 



AMBITION. 131 

" Why don't you give him the entire control and 
expense, too, of the children, if he likes?" said 
Ames. 

" Now, look here, Ames, I would not part from 
my treasures for him or any other man. He has 
often requested me to yield my right, because of 
his prior claim upon the mother I presume, but 
nothing shall ever cause me to give away my 
little brood that God directed me to that stormy 
day. No, sir ! My heart is bound up in those 
children. I am father, mother, uncle and every- 
thing to them, until at the altar I give them a 
new mother in the gentle, pure woman whom they 
call auntie. She has been indefatigable in her en- 
deavors to cultivate their young minds, and so far 
has been most successful. Oh, I tell you, my 
friend, I have much to be thankful for." 

In a few days after the above conversation, there 
was a quiet wedding at the neat residence of Mrs. 
Sutton, only a few select friends were invited. 

The bride was dressed in pure white, her 
hair worn plain as usual, with a wreath of orange 
blossoms, and a long veil nearly reaching to her 
feet. 

Very lovely did she look without ornaments of 
any kind. Her face was suffused with blushes, as 
she tremblingly answered "yes," to the minister's 



132 AMBITION. 

question, " Wilt thou have this man to be thine 
husband ? " 

Little Maggie was also dressed in white, for she 
acted as bridesmaid, and Ernest, her brother, acted 
as groomsman — lovely and blooming did they 
look. 

When the ceremony was over Ames approached 
the bride to congratulate her, but was surprised to 
see Maggie stand in front of her as though to de- 
fend her from some attack. Henry was much 
amused when she said : " This is my auntie ; you 
must not crush her pretty dress." 

Ames stooped and whispered something to the 
little girl, when she left the room, and everything 
went on as usual until the folding-doors were 
thrown open and Maggie stood upon the thresh- 
old and beckoned to the bridal party to advance ; 
when, to their utter surprise, they found a table set. 
In the centre was a splendid pyramid cake, and 
several ornamented boxes strewn over the table. 
These were presents from friends who left it en- 
tirely under the management of Ames, who, to 
gain the favor of the child gave it over to her. 
She, like a little woman, arranged them upon the 
table, placing also the bridal-cake on each side of 
the pyramid. When the party approached the 
table Maggie gave the knife to the bride, who in- 



AMBITION. 133 

stantly cut the silver cake, then handed the knife to 
the groom, when he did Hkewise with the fruit-cake 
— which is always the groom's cake. 

After the cake-cutting Maggie presented each 
box with a card attached, with the compliments 
of the giver. The first box opened happened 
to be from Ames — it consisted of an entire set 
of pearls. The next was from the groom — a 
magnificent set of diamonds ; the next was a splen- 
did gold watch and chain from her uncle ; the next 
was a fine large Turkey- Morocco Bible (with a 
mother's blessing inscribed on the* cover). Each 
box in turn was opened, and displayed jewelry of 
every conceivable design, until, at last, Maggie 
lifted the cloth and asked her good uncle, " Please 
to take the large box from under the table." He 
did so ; and soon they knocked off one side ; 
when, to the astonishment of all except Henry, 
they beheld the three children painted as large as 
life upon canvas before them, and, upon the heavy 
frame, in large gold letters, were the words : '' Mv 
Jewels." 

Every eye was upon Henry, who seemed very 
proud, as he tore off the balance of the box, and 
with the help of Ames placed it before the bride, 
who placed her hand in his and said, with deep 
emotion : 



1 34 AMBITION. 

*' Words are inadequate to express my gratitude, 
my husband!" and every one flocked around to see 
the beautiful painting. 

A little while after ever\- one was surprised to see 
Ma^fcrie crive the bride two little boxes ; the first 
contained a set of jewelr}' made entirely of hair 
cut from her own head ; the second contained a 
beautifully bound velvet Prayer-book from her 
brother. These simple tokens of love and grati- 
tude caused the tears to well up into her eyes as 
she kissed them tenderly. So ended the quiet 
weddine. 





CHAPTER XXIX. 




THE SAD HISTORY OF FRANK HARDY S EARLY LIFE. 

f=]^NCE upon a time, as a fairy tale com- 
mences, there lived in the great city of 
New York a wealthy gentleman. His 
family consisted of a son and two daughters, with 
a lovely gentle wife. For years everything went 
on smoothly ; not a cloud had arisen in their 
bright horizon ; everything was prosperous and 
lovely. 

One day in December, when the earth had ar- 
rayed herself as a bride, Millie Hardy was decked 
in her bridal robes and stood before the man of 
God to be united in the bonds of holy wedlock 
to Captain Malcolm Sutton, of the United States 
Armv, as crallant an officer as ever drew his sword 
in defense of his country. The handsome couple 
received the congratulations of their friends, and 
departed Immediately for his post of duty. 



136 AMBITION. 

Again all was well with the family until the next 
October, when there came the terrible news that 
Mr. Hardy had become bankrupt. His creditors 
were, of course, clamorous for their dues, and the 
honest and high-minded couple left their palatial 
residence, taking only a few household effects and 
little souvenirs, went to housekeeping on a small 
scale in a neat little brick house on a quiet street. 
Everything was soon sold, and the creditors satis- 
fied, but the old gentleman's health began to fade. 
He had never in his life known what poverty was. 
Being of a wealthy and aristocratic family, he could 
not endure the humiliation, and soon faded ; so, 
when spring spread her green mantle over the 
earth, he was followed to the grave by a few faith- 
ful friends, who erected a marble monument to his 
memory, and gave him a long obituary ; when that 
was done, they seemed to forget that he had left a 
helpless family, who stood upon the brink of pov- 
erty, and needed only a kind hand to lead them 
again to the threshold of prosperity. 

Some time after Mr. Hardy was consigned to 
the grave, Etta, the youngest girl, sought and ob- 
tained a situation as governess in a wealthy family, 
who became very much attached to her. Time 
wore on, and one day there came from India Mrs. 
Lacy's elegant brother, Walter Moore. 



AMBITION. 137 

When Etta was first introduced to him, she 
thought that she had seen that face before, for no 
one could ever look into that handsome face, and 
see that rare beautiful smile, and ever forget it. 

Often would Walter accompany her in her ram- 
bles with the children, and take delight in doing 
so. When all was still except the faint sounds of 
music from the parlor, he would always find his 
way in there ; and when she would see him enter, 
she would leave. 

One evening she was seated thus, when she 
leaned her head upon the piano, and sighed heavily, 
a hand was laid gently upon the bowed head, 
and a kindly voice said : " Etta ! " She raised her 
head, and would have escaped, but he gently de- 
tained her, seated her upon a sofa, and asked her 
if she would listen to one word from him, if she 
thought he was worth wasting her time upon. 

She tremblingly and blushingly took the prof- 
fered seat, saying she would be pleased to give all 
attention to what he had to say. 

" Etta," he began, *' have you entirely forgotten 
Walter Ash ton ? " 

She started in astonishment to her feet, and ex- 
claimed, " Walter Ashton ! What of him ? " And 
she sunk again in her seat, and covered her face 
with her hands. 



138 AMBITION. 

In a moment, Walter was on his knees before 
her, crying wildly, '' Etta, Etta, darling, behold me 
at your feet, I am Walter Ashton. I love you 
still. Say you forgive me, and I will make you my 
wife before the world. I deceived you only in 
name. It was only a joke of one of my friends. 
Forgive, oh! forgive me, or I will go away, and 
never will look upon your sweet face again. 

The gentle girl forgave her first and only lover ; 
and, to the surprise of Mrs. Lacy, soon became 
Mrs. Walter Ashton Moore. 

The happy couple went only to bid Mrs. Hardy 
adieu and receive her blessing, and left the country. 

In the meantime, Frank obtained a lucrative 
position in a store, where he soon won the esteem 
of all connected with him. 

Years rolled on. Then came the tidings of the 
death of Walter Ashton Moore and his beautiful 
wife, by yellow fever, in New Orleans. They left 
one child, a handsome bov, whom his o^uardian 
placed in college. 

One day there was a considerable amount of 
notes missinof from the drawer of the store where 
young Hardy was employed, and his employer 
strongly suspected him of embezzlement, when 
he thought he would detect him in the theft by 
putting a secret mark upon the notes, which thing 



AMBITION. 1 39 

he did, and found they disappeared as fast as the 
others did. 

One day, he called Frank to him, and told him 
that he was suspected of theft, and therefore he 
felt it was his duty to discharge him ; that he could 
not, for his mother's sake, have him .arrested, 
though by right he should do so. 

The young man declared again and again his 
innocence, but the old gentleman was inexorable, 
and young Hardy left his presence with almost a 
broken heart. 

He tried to gain employment, but failed in conse- 
quence of not having a recommendation from his 
last employer. He did not know what to do, or how 
was he going to leave his mother, who believed 
him innocent. Time wore on, and his mother sold 
one thing after the other to pay the rent, and for 
what they ate, but nothing could assuage the grief 
of Frank. The thouo^ht of committino- suicide often 
pressed itself upon him, but his mother kept him 
from it. 

One day, while looking into the window of a 
jeweler, he was tempted to smash the window and 
steal what he could, so he would be put in prison 
to escape the miserable life he was living ; when, 
to his surprise, he heard familiar voices behind him 
saying : 



140 AMBITION. 

'* If we could only find poor Hardy, we would 
make all reparation 'in our power." 

A dizziness came over him, and he fell to the 
earth. The two men saw him fall and rushed to 
him, picked him up, when the younger one said : 

*' My heavens! It is Frank Hardy!" and they 
carried him to a drug store, where he was kindly 
attended to and soon recovered, when he begged 
piteously to let him go home. The young man 
extended his hand kindly, and said : 

'* Frank! don't you remember me ? " 

Frank shook his head and whispered : 

'' Indeed, I think I oueht." 

*' Now, Frank, listen," said the young man. 
" I am your friend. I have been searching for you 
for some time to make all the reparation in our 
power. Long after you left my father's store he 
made some alteration in it, and, in pulling down 
an old closet, the- workmen came upon a rat's nest, 
and, to the surprise of all, the marked notes were 
found ! when it was supposed the mother rat had 
stolen them to make a bed for her young ones. 

" Now, come ; my father is waiting for you to 
come and be reinstated, both in your place in the 
store and in his heart, for he hates to think you 
unofrateful to him." 

Frank said he could not present himself in such 



AMBITION. 141 

a miserable condition, but would do so in a few 
days. 

" Oh, never mind the clothes," said his friend, 
and he called a carriage, and insisted upon Frank 
accompanying him home, where he was received 
graciously as a lost one of the family. 

The wheel of fortune turned in his favor once 
more. Frank had his salary given him for the 
time he was dismissed ; and, more than that, the 
widow had the deed of a small handsome house 
and furniture presented to her by Frank's em- 
ployer for the suffering he had caused her. When 
all this happened Frank was not more than twenty 
years of age. Time passed ; his mother was laid 
beside his father in Greenwood, and having no 
tie he sold his house and went abroad, where he 
amassed a large fortune, and we find him in the 
City of C . 




CHAPTER XXX. 



THE SINGULAR MEETING OF UNCLE AND NEPHEW. 

mJ^N a fine day, while a party of friends were 
\^^ at the picture gallery of Mertenich, our 
hero, Ames Skiff, called the attention of 
Mr. Hardy to a splendid landscape by Moore. 
Hardy scrutinized the painting carefully, then 
turning to Ames, said, musingly : " Moore, Moore ; 
where is he from, do you know ? " 

" Oh, I believe he was born in Paris. He is not 
a poor artist, as you imagine, but a gentleman of 
leisure. His mother and father died when he was 
very young, with yellow fever, while on a visit to 
New Orleans." 

" Stay!" and Hardy clutched the shoulder of the 
astonished Ames, while his very hair seemed to 
stand on end, and his eyes dilate half their nat- 
ural size. 

*' My dear fellow, what is the matter with you ? 



AMBITION. 143 

are you ill ? " and Ames led him to a seat where he 
asked him to explain his singular conduct. 

*' Now, listen," said Hardy. " I had a sister 
who died with yellow fever. She left a boy ; his 
name was Ashton Mcore — is it he?" 

It was now Ames' place to be astonished ; he 
gave a perceptible start ; then, recovering himself, 
grasped the hand of Hardy, saying : 

" Hardy, I think it is he ; would you know him 
by his picture ? If so, come to my home, and I 
will show you one he had taken before he left for 
Europe." 

The poor man accepted eagerly, and, according 
to promise, the next morning found him in Ames' 
room anxiously examining the miniature of Ashton 
Moore, whom he immediately recognized as his 
kinsman by the blended likeness of both father 
and mother. 

Ames was much affected as he gazed upon the 
grief-stricken man with his head bowed in silence, 
looking wistfully at the handsome picture before 
him, while he groaned aloud, saying : 

" My sister! my poor sister !" 

'' Now, Hardy, don't take on so ; you will soon 
have the pleasure of beholding your nephew in the 
flesh, for his time is up and he will soon be here, 
although I have not heard from him for three 



144 AMBITION. 

weeks. His last letter was to the effect that he 
would not write again, but would come unbidden. 
Now, shake hands, Hardy!" and Ames whispered, 
" you will be nearer than you expect to me, for I 
welcome Ashton as a brother — he will soon marry 
my sister." 

Hardy grasped the hand of Ames and said : 

" Bless you ! Have you been kind to the or- 
phan ? '' 

At this moment they were interrupted by the 
door being thrown open, and Milton Smith rushed 
in saying : 

" What will you give for good news, old boy ?" 
and, just then, another form rushed past him and 
Ashton Moore extended his hand to his friend, 
who was greatly surprised but none the less de- 
lighted at the interruption. After the greeting 
was over, Ames said to his friend : 

" I have more news for you than you have for 
me," and he led Ashton before Mr. Hardy, say- 
ing : 

" Now, Hardy, this is he of whom I spoke ; this 
is my friend and brother, Ashton Moore. " 

By this time Hardy was deaf to what he said ; 
his head fell forward, and in a moment more he 
had measured his length upon the floor. The 
young men dashed water in his face, and uhfast- 



AMBITION. 145 

ened his cravat, and soon he showed signs of re- 
turnincr Hfe. The first words were : 

'' My sister ! my sister ! " 

Ashton kneh beside him chafing his hands, when 
he opened his eyes and fixed them intently 
upon him, saying : " It is he ! I'm sure it is he ! " 

i\shton said, in a soft voice : " Yes, uncle, it is 
I," and the two young men raised him upon his 
feet; catching the air from the open window, he 
soon revived, and folding Ashton in his arms as 
though he were a boy, wept bitterly. 

Nothintr but his sobs broke the silence for some 
time. At length Ashton said, as he released him- 
self from the fond embrace : 

'' Uncle Frank, I have often heard my mother 
speak of you and Aunt Millie. Tell me, js she liv- 
ing yet ? Oh, I am so glad that the orphan boy 
does not stand alone in the world, as he expected. 
I was anticipating great comfort in having a 
brother in this noble-hearted man, but now my 
cup of happiness is full. O God! I thank thee," 
and the poor fellow, who had held out so bravely, 
lost all control of himself, and wept with his face 
buried in his hands, while he cried aloud "O 
my sainted mother ! has thy spirit always kept 
guard over me ? " 

The three friends looked on in silence. When 
this paroxysm was over, they all separated. 






^^^^>^2^^^Ss^a^^ 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

ASHTON MOORE MEETS WITH NOTHING BUT SURPRISES. 

'\q|3HE clay following, Frank Hardy called upon 
v:/"^ Ashton at his hotel, and after an hour's 

^ ^ conversation, he drew from him all he 
knew concerning his parents, and seemed over- 
joyed at finding his nephew so handsome and 
intelligent. He arose and invited Ashton to ride 
with him to see a very dear friend of his mother's, 
which Ashton readily accepted ; and on entering the 
carriage, gave orders to drive to Woodbine Cottage. 

About half an hour afterwards, the carriage 
stopped before an elegant cottage, and a little girl 
met them at the gate. It was Maggie, who was 
iust returning from school, with her books in her 
arms and her hat hanging down on her neck — the 
cord alone kept it from falling off. 

When she saw Mr. Hardy, she ran towards him, 
crying : '' Oh, uncle, uncle! I've got something to 
tell you. My mother has got a new little sister for 



AMBITION. 147 

me. Papa went out to look for you. Do come 
and see my little sister ! I was just going to see if 
grandma is at home yet. She was at my house 
when I went to school." 

• By the time Maggie had delivered this harangue 
Ashton jumped out of the carriage ; when she 
looked astonished at seeing a stranger, and waited 
for an introduction, which Uncle Hardy soon gave. 

When she heard her uncle call him Ashton, she 
said : '' Why, he must be something to me ! Now, 
I wonder who he is." 

She put down her books, and took each gentle- 
man by the hand, and led them into the beautiful 
little parlor. Then left them. 

They had not been there many minutes before 
she returned, leading by the hand Mrs. Sutton, 
who advanced towards her brother, who said : 
" Millie, don't you remember Etta had a son, 
Ashton?" 

Ashton started to his feet, and exclaiming, 
'' Aunt Millie ! " while the poor woman screamed, 
'' Ashton ! " " Etta! " and fell fainting in his arms. 

Poor Ashton held her in his arms. He seemed 
unwilling to yield her even by the earnest solici- 
tude of Maggie — '' that it was essential to place 
her back upon the sofa to bring her too." 

Ashton cried again and again : '' My mother, 



148 AMBITION. 

my mother! " For, as he said afterwards, " I, who 
felt a mother's loving arms around me when a 
boy, felt that she was near me then." 

It was a long while before Mrs. Sutton could be 
resuscitated. Maggie was busy as a bee, while 
poor Frank Hardy walked the floor, and wrung his 
hands, crying : " Oh, I have been too precipitate ! 
My sister ! Millie, Millie ! speak to me. And the 
poor distracted man knelt over her, at one moment 
calling her endearing names, then the next would 
wring his hands and walk the floor. 

At length, when Mrs. Sutton showed signs of 
returning life, he seemed delighted, and was as 
bright as a boy. He took the poor woman In his 
strong arms, and kissed her white brow, and, in a 
cheerful voice, said : " Sister, let me congratulate 
you upon being a grandmother! " 

Mrs. Sutton smiled, and asked him who made 
him so wise, when he pointed to Maggie, saying : 
''My little Maggie!" 

Maggie seemed to be very much pleased with 
Ashton, and asked him if he knew her papa, who 
used to be her Uncle Henry, but now he had mar- ' 
ried her Auntie Amy, he said that she must always 
call him papa, and Auntie Amy, mamma. 

There seemed to be nothing but surprises for 
Ashton ; for, while he was making inquiries about 



AMBITION. 149 

this wonderful Uncle Henry, DeBar entered, and 
stood as one petrified, when he gazed upon the 
actors in that little scene. It was in that little 
parlor where he wooed and won his gentle wife. 
It was in that parlor lie had brought his young 
orphans, and now, it was in that very room that he 
met his earliest and dearest friend. 

Maggie aroused him by clinging to him, calling 
aloud, ''Papa, papa, what is the matter?" When 
his- senses returned, he grasped the hand of 
Ashton. For, in a little while, everything was ex- 
plained, and after a few minutes' conversation, he 
invited him to call with his uncle, and then took 
Maoforie and left the house. 

Mrs. Sutton was delighted at finding her sister's 
child, and Ashton was only too glad to find an 
aunt or relative in this world. 



CHAPTER XXXII 




THE DOUBLE WEDDING. 

He news spread like wildfire that Ashton 
Moore had returned, and had found rela- 
tives ; he was besieged by his friends for 
several days. 

When one day, to his delight, Ames brought him 
a letter in answer to his earnest request that Eliza 
should be married at the same time her brother 
was he snatched the letter eagerly from the hand 
of his intended brother-in-Jaw, broke the seal, and 
cried out : " Yes, yes, she is coming ; we must 
meet her day after to-morrow. Oh, Ames, I am 
too happy," and he clapped Ames upon the 
shoulder, his face beaming with the happiness 
which he felt. 

At the time appointed, the lover and brother 
were at the pier, waiting for the steamer to round ; 
they scanned every face upon deck, but the loved 
one was not there. No sooner had the vessel 



AMBITION. I 5 I 

reached the pier, than they sprang eagerly forward 
and made their way to the ladies' cabin, where 
they found the loved one waiting patiently for 
them. 

Without the least hesitancy, Eliza threw hersell 
into her noble brother's arms, much to the chao-rin 
of her lover, who stood by awaiting an attack from 
that quarter himself. 

When the crreetinor between brother and sister 

o o 

was over, Eliza placed her tiny hand in the out- 
stretched one of her patient lover, saying, " Let 
me congratulate you upon your safe arrival and 
good looks, Mr. Moore. Oh, I am so happy 
to see you ; I never. in my whole life spent such a 
long year." 

" Ah ! indeed; I am glad to hear it. Miss Eliza," 
said Ashton, and he bent gallantly over the little 
hand as he pressed it, and looked straight into her 
soft blue eyes. " Then, I have been missed by 
you. Ah ! do not blush so deeply, I am only too 
proud to think that I have been missed, and wdsh 
all those prying eyes around us were turned upon 
something else just now, and I would pluck the 
rosebud that so temptingly is placed before me ; but 
come, Eliza, let us hasten away," and he drew^ her 
arm within his own, and led her to the carriage, 
the door of which A^nes held open for them. They 



1 52 AMBITIOX. 

were driven to Ames's hotel, where evervthlnor was 
prepared for their reception, for Ames never did 
anything by halves. After supper, Ames disclosed 
his plans to Eliza." 

Annie Penn wished to be married at the little 
stone chapel where all of her family were married, 
and Ames had proposed to Ashton to proceed 
forthwith to the villao;-e of I\I . 

Eliza was delighted at the plan, for, said she : "I 
would like to have everything conducted quietly." 

" But," said Ashton, '' although we will be mar- 
ried in a retired spot, and in a quiet manner, we 
will none the less enjoy our grand reception at 
home." 

The next day, the party set out for M , which 

they reached in safety. 

When the boat stopped at the little old-fashioned 
wharf, there stood Mr. Penn and his brother Will, 
who eagerly grasped the hand of our hero, and led 
the little party to the great old-fashioned family 
carriage : they soon reached the house, to the de- 
light, of all. 

Ames immediately sprang from the carriage at 
the siofht of a sweet face at the window, which said 
face suddenly disappeared, and as the gentle Annie 
came bounding down the broad stairs, she was 
caught in the arms of her lover, who smothered 



AMBITION. 1 53 

her with kisses. And so the party found them 
when, they. reached the porch. 

At this moment the dining-room door was thrown 
open, and Mrs. Penn came out to meet them, with 
a crowd of Httle ones peeping behind her volumi- 
nous skirts, and shouting at the same time : " Papa ! 
papa ! " 

Will took each in its turn and kissed it, then 
said to , the astonished party : " You need not 
laucrh. your time will come next," and he looked 
wondrously happy. 

After order was restored, Annie led the beauti- 
ful Eliza to her chamber, where th'ey remained a 
lone time in earnest conversation, until the tea-bell 
ranof. Then a vision of loveliness met the e^ze of the 
anxious lovers, as they swept majestically into the 
room where they were waiting to take them into tea. 

When Eliza seemed entirely rested from her 
journey, three days after, the little chapel was filled 
to its utmost capacity, the little organ pealed forth a 
wedding march as the two lovely brides and the hand- 
some bridegrooms passed up the aisle upon a bed 
of roses, for all the children for miles around had 
brought flowers to strew the bride's pathwa}' with 
flowers, hoping that they would be happy, and 
their pathway through life would be strewn with 
roses. After the minister had pronounced his 



1 54 AMBITION. 

blessing upon them, they received the congratula- 
tions of their friends, when a novel sight met their 
gaze, as they turned to leave the church. Drawn 
up on either side of the doors, were the village 
school children, each with a basket full of beau- 
tiful flowers. As the two brides stood upon the 
threshold, the two first girls walked off throw- 
ing flowers in the way, and singing sweetly, then 
two others, and so on until they arrived at- the car- 
riages, where they again separated and stood in a 
long row each side of the pathway, so the bridal 
party would pass through the sight was both 
novel and affecting. 

After the bridal party drove away, Mr. William 
Penn invited all the children up to the great house, 
where they had the pleasure of shaking hands with 
the whole party, and afterwards were served with 
a good bridal supper, much to their satisfaction and 
surprise. 

" Well," said Ashton, after the little ones had 
departed, '' I am so glad that I consented to come 
here to be married, for that little tribute is worth 
more than all the false glitter of society.''' 

Ames stood proudly by his blushing bride and 
said : " Now, you see how my fair bride is appre- 
ciated. I am truly a happy man ; I never saw so 
fair a wedding." 



AMBITION. l55 

The next day, trunks were sent off, and soon all 
took leave of the kind host and family. Ames 
promising to bring his wife to see them often, 
they whirled away with many good wishes follow- 
ing them. 




CHAPTER XXXIII. 




THE GRAND RECEPTION. 

evening after their arrival at home they 
p had a grand reception. Of course, every- 
body was . in readiness, for their cards had 
been out for some time, for all knew of the quiet 
wedding. 

The grand saloon of the hotel was magnificently 
decorated. In the centre of the room was erected 
a splendid bridal arch, under which stood the bridal 
party, receiving their friends. 

Mrs. Skiff wore a white satin dress, with an im- 
mense train, a wreath of orange-blossoms encircled 
her brow ; her long veil was caught up with a 
golden comb at the back of her head, and hung in 
folds around her slender figure. Her jewels were 
diamonds. 

Mrs. Moore was dressed also in her bridal robes 
of rich white silk, with lace overskirt, looped up 



AMBITION. l5y 

on either side with frosted rosebuds. Her jewels 
were a magnificent set of pearls, a present from 
her brother. Instead of her bridal wreath, she wore 
a bandeau of pearls, from which fell her solid lace 
veil in oraceful folds around her. 

o 

The guests did not know which bride to admire 
the most, Annie, with her midnight beauty, which 
the sparkling gems set off, or Eliza, with her rip- 
pling light hair and heavenly blue eyes. The 
grooms were just the opposite — Ashton was dark, 
and Ames was fair. 

After the reception was over they repaired to 
an opposite saloon, which was cleared for dancing, 
and Ashton offered Mrs. Skiff his arm, and Ames 
led off the charming Mrs. Moore, and the dance 
began in earnest. Everything was gotten up in 
elegant style, and every one seemed to enjoy them- 
selves very much. The supper-table was superb. 
Everybody was delighted. Then, to the surprise 
of the two brides, a door was thrown open, which 
displayed a table loaded with presents. At the 
head of the table was a magnificent silver service 
for Mrs. Jkiff, at the foot another for, Mrs. Moore. 
Silver ladles, fruit-knives, castors, fish-knives, silver 
salts, fruit-baskets, and every conceivable thing for 
the table was displayed to view, with the giver's 
name attached. 



1 58 AMBITION. 

After they had looked at the presents to their 
hearts' content, they repaired to the saloon, where 
they enjoyed themselves till near morning, when 
all separated, after drinking to the future happiness 
of the bridal party. 

So ended the happy bridal reception ; but I 
wonder if they felt any happier than at the simple 
country wedding! 




CHAPTER XXXIV. 




ROSA LYNN IN A NEW ROLE. 

iX^r;^ E must leave our friends In their happiness, 
f%^^ and follow the fortunes of Rosa Lynn. 
'^'-^'^^ When Ames left her at VIcksburg, she 
cared not which way she drifted. She would not 
enter Into her old life again as circus-rlder. Being 
of a romantic turn of mind, she thought she would 
engage In some menial capacity ; and forthwith 
she traced her way to the great city of New York, 
where she sought and obtained a situation as lady's 
maid, through the medium of the Nezu York 
Herald. 

The lady with whom she engaged herself 
had just returned from Europe. She was an 
only daughter, and an heiress. When Rosa 
stood before her, she was amazed at such 
beauty. 



l6o ■ AMBITION. 

Julia was fain to think that if Rosa moved in 
the same circle as herself, she would have a worthy 
rival. 

Well, Rosa was duly installed. One morn-, 
ing, after dressing Julia's hair, she looked around 
the elegantly furnished chamber, leaned her 
hand upon the back of a chair, and soliloquized 
thus : 

"Well, this is a delightful change for one who 
has been accustomed to command. I suppose I 
must obey, for a time at least. I must call this 
piece of perfection 'my lady,' and bow and cringe 
as though I were in the presence of royalty itself. 
Ah ! as my poor old ring-master used to say, 
' Child, you are born, but not buried.' Who 
knows but one of these days I will be some great 
lady? Yes, yes; I feel it will — it must be so. 
Oh ! why was I not born rich instead of handsome," 
and she sighed, and stood before the mirror gazing 
intently at her beautiful face and charming figure 
reflected therein. 

At this moment, the door was thrown open, and 
Julia stood on the threshold in astonishment, say- 
ing : " Well, I declare you must think yourself 
beautiful. Here I have been waiting and calling 
you for half an hour, and you seemed deaf to every- 
thing but your handsome self. Come, my girl ! 



AMBITION. l6l 

you will find that you can make yourself more use- 
ful than by looking at yourself all day. But never 
mind ; you are forgiven for your vanity this time 
for I think myself that you are very pretty. Come 
now, be quick ! I want you to dress my hair, for I 
am going to dine with Mrs. Ashton Moore, the 
great beauty that came over in the steamer with 
me." And, as Julia seated herself, she surveyed the 
room, and said, petulantly : ' Rosa, I do think that 
you might have arranged things a little while I was 
out, so I would not have to break my neck over 
them ! " 

" I believe, madame, that you engaged me to 
arrange your toilet, not to be chamber-maid," said 
Rosa, with asperity. 

Julia, greatly excited, sprang from her chair and 
confronted Rosa, saying : "Don't dare to call me 
madame. You must know that I am soon to be 
Sir Edward Clifton's wife, and you shall call me 
* my lad}\' " 

"Just as I thought ! " said Rosa, with contempt. 
" Your calling yourself a lady most assuredly does 
not make you one ; but, as you have given me my 
orders, I will proceed with your toilet, madame," 
and, as Rosa combed her long hair out, she gave 
several vigorous pulls which made poor Julia cry 
out : 



l62 



AMBITION. 



'' Why, Rosa, you will pull all the hair out of my 
head ! My, how you do hurt ! " and she put her 
hands to her head. 

" Well, there is plenty more at the hair-dresser's, 
you can easily match the remnant," said Rosa, 
spitefully, completing the toilet. 

Julia flaunted about the room, admired herself 
in the glass, and left word for Rosa to fix up things. 
When left alone, Rosa said aloud, as the door 
closed upon Julia : " Well, when I look around at 
all this fashion and display in one so utterly void 
of principle, I do but wonder why this world's 
goods are so unequally divided. Not that I am 
envious or vain — oh, not at all ! but I do think 
that all this wealth would set better on me than it 
does on her. What am I, and who am I, that 
these thoughts will continually intrude themselves 
upon me ? " 

Scarcely had she uttered these words when Mrs. 
Saunders, the mother of Julia, entered the room, 
and seeing Rosa approach the mirror, she called 
out to her: " As usual, Rosa, at the glass ! Well, 
you must really think yourself beautiful. Now, if 
you take my advice, you will attend to your busi- 
ness — that is, to attend to your mistress, or you 
will find yourself dismissed at short notice." 

Rosa, who was not in the least disturbed by 



AMBITION. 163 



this threat, said : '' Well, madame, you can dismiss 
me at any moment that you will pay me." 

Mrs. Saunders said, In an excited voice : " And 
there Is my daughter, who will marry Sir Edward 
Clifton, I want you to understand, as well as any 
other menial, that you must call her ' my lady. 

'' Very well, madame ; when she becomes ' my 
lady ' I'll call her so ; but I do not now Intend to 
call her out of her name. Her manners never will 
give her that title, only the position of Sir Edward 
will do that," said Rosa, coolly. 

" No more impudence, miss ; but do as I tell 
you," and with these words the Irate lady flaunted 
out of the room. 

Rosa fell back upon the lounge, and drew forth 
a picture from her bosom, shed tears, and said 
aloud, after gazing at the picture for some time : 
'' Never mind ; I'll be a great lady some day, 
I feel it here," placing here hand upon her 
heart. 





CHAPTER XXXV. 

SIR EDWARD AT THE CLUB-ROOM. 

a table of a richly-furnished club-room 
w sat four gentlemen playing cards, when 
one of them, as he threw down a card, 
called out : "I say, Sir Edward, are you going to 
the grand ball ? — of course, you must, to see what 
the Americans can do in that line. I'll bet you 
never saw such an array of beauty in your life as 
you will see collected there — " 

'* Stop there, Raymond. I think, when you 
come to see an English ball and English beauties, 
then you'll give in," said the handsome English- 
man, Clarence Hawthorne. 

'' Well, gentlemen, I certainly will do myself the 
honor to attend this grand ball given in honor of 
Miss Saunders's return to her native land, and will 
be most happy to meet you all there." 

'' I wonder who that little beauty is that I met 
in the hall the other day ! By Jove, such eyes I 
6 



AMBITION. . 1 65 

never saw! She must be some poor relation whom 
they are afraid to be let seen," said young Bert 
Howard. 

" Hush ! Bert, you know you are . treading on 
dangerous ground," said Charles Raymond. 

"Hold on, Charlie! I hope I've said nothing 
offensive, but she is, w^ithout exception, the prettiest 
little thing I ever saw, and about the merriest. She 
came along the hall singing as sweetly as a bird. 
Oh ! such a voice! It was enough to make a fellow 
think that he was listening to the song of an angel, 
but this is not playing cards. I say, what's 
trumps — Hearts ? " 

'^ By the pricking of my thumb, 
Something wicked this way comes," 

said Charles Raymond, laughing, as Wallace, valet 
to Sir Edward, entered with a note, which he gave 
to Sir Edward, who read it, then folded it care- 
fully and stood up, raised his glass, and said, 
smilingly : " Gentlemen — 

'' Let's drink to the health of my lady fair, 
Whose sparkling black eyes and raven hair, 
In truth, this poor heart of mine did ensnare." 

They all drank the health of Sir Edward's lady 
love, when Clarence Hawthorne said; " Now, gen- 
tlemen — 



1 66 AMBITION. 

" Indeed I feel it our duty 
To drink to the health of Bert's little beauty." 

1 After they drank, Bert Howard arose and thanked 
them, saying : " Now, gentlemen, before we part, 
let us have a general toast." 

They at once arose to their feet, with their glasses 
lifted high, and sang : 

*' Here's to the health of all Eve's fair daughters, 
On this and the other side of the waters ; 
With very few faults, and a great many charms, 
Will be glad to find our companions in arms." 

After this compliment to charming woman, the 
friends separated with the promise of meeting at 
the mask ball. 

Bert Howard sprang out of the. door, waving an 
adieu with his hat, saying : " Well, gentlemen, I'm 
off to dream of my sweet little singing bird — adieu ! " 




CHAPTER XXXVI. 



THE MASK BALL. 




HE handsome drawing-room of Mrs. Sin- 



clair was crowded. The scene was pictur- 
esque in the extreme — there were lords and 
ladies, knights of old, shepherds, minstrels, flower- 
girls, fortune-tellers and everything else. 

Sir Edward Clifton made a fine Apollo, Julia 
looked splendidly as Aurora, Clarence Hawthorne 
as a gallant knight, the lively Bert Howard as an 
old minstrel, but who is this little gypsy fortune- 
teller, who, as Apollo approaches, sings out : 

" Whoe'er will cross my hand with gold 
Will have his fortune truly told." 

The handsome Apollo placed a piece of gold in 
the open palm, and she took his hand, traced the 
lines therein, when she archly told him that he had 
lately crossed the seas in pursuit of some object 
that seemed to be surrounded with mystery ; and 



1 68 AMBITION. 

it would only be solved by some meddlesome young 
person. 

" But, my girl, who seems to be connected with 
this mystery ? " said Apollo, as he bent his lordly 
head over the hand which she still retained. 

'' Oh ! I see a lonely man wandering over moun- 
tains and hills in unrest. Presently, he crosses a 
great ocean, with his noble heart fired with love, 
and in pursuing one thing finds the other, which 
he has sought for many years." 

" Hold !" cried Apollo. " It is enough." And he 
turned away to seek Aurora, whom he found listen- 
ing to the song of the minstrel, whose sweet, rich 
tones filled the room with melody. 

Presently, room was made for the tambourine girl, 
and she danced with her tambourine, to the delight 
of every one. After which Apollo and Aurora led 
off the dance, which lords and ladies, knights, and 
everybody joined in. 

The minstrel and gypsy fortune-teller seemed to 
be inseparable. It was he who danced with her; 
it was he who escorted her in to supper ; but it was 
not he who escorted her home ; for, like Cinde- 
rella, as the clock struck twelve, she made her 
escape, and the poor minstrel was left to pass his 
time in conjecturing what manner of gypsy she 
was. 




CHAPTER XXXVII. 

A STORMY SCENE AT BREAKFAST. 

HPE morning after the ball, as Mrs. Saunders 
and her daughter, Julia, were seated at 
breakfast, that lady relieved herself of her 
ill-humor in this wise : 

" Well, I declare ! if that don't beat anything I ever 
heard of Just to think of that budget of impudence * 
going off to a ball given in honor of my daughter! 
My daughter, who will soon be a great lady ! " 

'' Yes ; and to think that he should be so capti- 
vated by her sweet voice (as he said), that she had 
such winning ways ; and he squeezed her hand at 
parting. Oh, ma ! was ever anything so shameful ? " 
said the beautiful Julia. 

At this moment they heard Rosa singing in the 
hall, " The Poor Gypsy Maid." 

" Now, just listen to that ! " said Mrs. Saunders. 
Do you think that I will put up with that much 
longer, Julia ? No, not if you will have to do 
without a maid altogether ; really, if that girl 



1 70 AMBITION. 

comes In here, I'll be tempted to throw a cup at 
her head, that I will ! " 

Just as she ceased speaking, Rosa came in with 
her apron full of flowers, still singing, when Mrs. 
Saunders sprang up from the table, and shook her 
by the shoulders, which caused her to drop the 
flowers, while she cried out in ancrer : " You little 
imp of Satan, what put it into your crazy head to 
run off to the ball last night, and mingle wgh your 
betters ? " 

Rosa laughed, " Ha, ha, ha! My betters! Now, 
madame, if you will just raise your heavy hand 
off my delicate shoulder, I will explain. Well! in 
the first place, I don't acknowledge any one as my 
betters ; in the second, I wanted to see in a ball- 
room, and thought I would be safe in that disguise, 
as no one would recognize me as Miss Julia's maid ; 
and in the third place, I wanted to see how my 
mistress would ' queen it ' in English society. 
Now I am fully satisfied on all points." 

Julia looked up and said, softly : " Mother, do 
let the girl alone. Rosa, how did I look last night 
— don't you think I was dressed better than any 
one there ? " 

" I dcrthink you and your Apollo were the hand- 
somest couple in the room," said Rosa ; '' now, 
that's the truth." 



AMBITION. 171 

Mrs. Saunders drew Rosa before her as she 
seated herself, holding her hand, saying mildly : 
" Well, Rosa, if I forgive you this time, will you 
ever try it again ?— but I know you will soon get 
into some other scrape. I really don't know why I 
keep you about me, that's a fact ! " 

'' Ma, I think Rosa had better take the house- 
maid's place, don't you ? " 

'' Well, my dear, I really think so myself. Now, 
consider your position changed," said the conde- 
scending madame. 

"All right, ladies," answered Rosa ; " if you are 
satisfied, Vm sure I will be. Anything so I will 
remain in peace," so saying, Rosa made good her 
escape, before they should reprimand her for her 
impudence again. 




CHAPTER XXXVIII. 




ROSA AS HOUSE-MAID. 

NE morning while Rosa was dusting the 
^^p handsome parlor, she stopped, and said 
aloud : " Now, I rather like the change ; 
here I am left all to myself, free as a bird, no more 
to be frowned at or scolded. — and another thing, 
now I can get a peep at the gentry, and will be a 
fine lady. Let me see how I would act were I. a 
lady," and she tried all the chairs, then went up to 
the grand piano, ran her fingers nimbly over the 
keys, but started back as though she were terribly 
frightened, saying : " Oh, my, ain't that nice, but 
it will bring them all about my ears. I'll stop at 
once, because I'll have to hurry up now ; but the 
next time I come down I'll have to put on one of 
Julia's dresses." 

While Rosa was dusting the chairs and singing 
to herself, the door opened, and the gay young 
Bert Howard advanced into the room, offered her 



AMBITION. 173 

his hand, as with a smile he said, " Well, my pretty 
Miss, how are you this fine morning ? '' 

Rosa bowed and said as she drew herself away : 
" I am not Miss Julia, sir, you are mistaken." 

*' Well, my pretty one," said the young man, " I 
know you are not Miss Julia, but cannot we make 
friends ; this is, indeed, an unexpected pleasure. I 
have known you for a long time, and had almost 
given up the idea of meeting you," and he con- 
tinued, coaxingly, " Come, sit down by my side, and 
let us have an old-fashioned talk." 

As he caught Rosa by the hand, she struggled 
and freed herself, crying out : '' Oh, I cannot stay ; 
here comes Miss Julia," and she made a courtesy, 
and vanished through the door. 

• Bert started in pursuit, but as she closed the 
door with a bang, as much as to say, " You dare not 
follow," he turned back, muttering to himself, "That's 
just my luck, here I have been chasing a butterfly 
three months, and just as I thought I had caught 
it, why it flies off." 

The door opened softly, and the aggravating 
Rosa peeped archly at him, and said : " Sir! did 
you tell me not to slam itf and before he could 
catch her as he expected, she slammed the door 
and was gone. 

As poor Bert turned away disappointed, he found 



1 74 AMBITION. 

himself face to face with Julia and a lady friend, who 
had entered by the side door. Julia looked ele- 
gant in her dark green riding habit, which fitted 
her exquisitely. Her cheeks were blooming with 
the healthful exercise ; she cordially welcomed Bert, 
who was a favorite with everybody. 

As he bent over the extended hand, she ex- 
claimed : '' Why, Mr. Howard, w^e missed you so 
much' In our morning ride ; do sit down. I am de- 
lighted to see you. I suppose you will soon join 
us at the Springs. You know that we start In a 
few days." 

'' I think it likely that I shall," said Bert, con- 
fusedly. *' I shall be much pleased to join you 
there. Will you take your little singing bird along, 
Miss Julia?" 

'' What singing bird, Mr. Howard ? " 

'' Why the little girl that I have met in the hall 
several times, and no matter how early or late, she 
is always singing merrily," said Bert, timidly. 

Julia leaned back and laughed heartily, when she 
could find utterance ; she told him that was only a 
servant girl. First, her dressing-maid, who, for her 
impudence, was promoted to be mald-of-all-work. 

Bert felt his cheeks glow with indignation at this 
flippant speech, but was saved from further em- 
barrassment by the entrance of a young lady friend 



AMBITION. 175 

In morning costume, whom Julia covered with kisses, 
as she exclaimed : " Why, Helen dear, why did 
you not come in time to join us in our morning's 
ride? I was so much grieved at your absence." 

The young lady, with a sweet lisp, which I think 
a piece of affectation, answered : " Oh, my darling, 
I have 'been doing much better than that. I have 
been shopping with mamma. You know we leave 
for Long Branch the latter part of next week, 
where I hope you will all join us." 

Julia turned to say something to Bert, but that 
gentleman very unceremoniously took his leave 
when she was showering Helen with kisses. 

When she found that he had truly taken flight, 
she exclaimed : " It is nothing more than I expected ; 
I suppose he has gone In pursuit of his singing 
bird." 




CHAPTER XXXIX. 




valet, 



SIR EDWARD S RESOLUTION. 

N a richly-furnished private parlor in the 
St. Nicholas Hotel, were two gentlemen, 
Sir Edward Clifton, and his handsome 
Wallace, who was busy writing a letter. 
Sir Edward raised himself from his reclining posi- 
tion, shook the ashes from his cigar, and said, 
softly : " Wallace ! I am not satisfied with things 
as they are going on. You are in every sense a 
gentleman ; as highly bred as myself; and yet you 
are willing to bend your proud neck, and play valet 
to me in this country. Now, my boy, no one here 
knows anything about the fatal duel. I think it Is 
time you should resume your name and station, if 
not your title." 

Wallace raised his head, and answered : " Not 
yet, Edward. I want to win and wed that little 
singing bird (as Bert calls her) In my present sta- 
tion, and I'll be the happiest of men." 



AMBITIOX. 177 

" You forget mCv Wallace ! Don't you know that 
I am glad the ladies are all gone to the sea-shore ? 
I'll just step over some day and see this little sing- 
ing bird myself. How old do you think she is ? " 

They were here interrupted by Clarence Haw- 
thorne, who threw himself into a chair, and asked, 
'' Well, gentlemen, what's the news ? " 

" Nothing new, except the ladies have left for 
the sea- shore," said Sir Edward. " I really don't 
know how we shall employ our time. Now, I 
have a strong desire to see Bert's little prodigy, 
and some day we must take a stroll in Central 
Park. Oh ! that will be the most appropriate 
place to tell you the sad history of my past life, 
and the strange oath of mine when a mere boy. 
Somehow or other I have a strong presentiment 
that this very girl has something to do with my 
oath, Wallace." 

*' You may just as well tell it now, and we will 
help you out with it," said Clarence. 

'' No ; I will wait until we reach some romantic 
nook in the park, and it will make me more eager 
to fulfill that oath. Suppose we start now ; or, 
shall we step over to the house, pretending we did 
not know that the ladies were out of town ? Then 
we can have some music, for Charles says she can 
play, and sing divinely." 
8* 



178 AMBITION. 

'' There's romance In that," said Clarence, as he 
Hghted a cigar. " Who ever heard of a genuine 
domestic having such refinement and such musical 
abilities ? I'll bet my life she is some girl who has 
perhaps followed some lover, and he has tired of 
her and cast her off, and she is too proud to go 
home, so seeks an honest living as a domestic." 

*' Well, even if that is the case, I admire her 
spirit," said Wallace. 

So saying, the three friends left the room. 





CHAPTER XL. 

INTERVIEW BETWEEN SIR EDWARD AND ROSA. 

the gentlemen reached the mansion 
of Mrs. Saunders, Sir Edward requested 
his companions be shown into the 
library, while he had a private interview with Miss 
Rosa. The porter, who had looked upon him for 
a long time as one of the family, acceded to his 
request immediately, and he proceeded to the 
drawing-room, from whence came ravishing strains 
of music. He opened the door softly, and stood 
enraptured upon the threshold. 

As Rosa finished the piece, she raised her eyes 
for the first time, and met those of Sir Edward 
fixed intently upon her. She immediately arose and 
tried to escape, but he seemed determined not to 
be foiled in that way. He sprang forward and 
caught her hand. She begged to be released, say- 
ing, she meant no harm ; that she was not Miss Julia. 



i8o 



a:^iritiox. 



Very beautiful did she look as she stood blushine 
and paling before the great nobleman. 

As she spoke in a pleading voice, Sir Edward 
held her hand the tighter, and cried out in a voice 
of agony, " Girl ! who and what are )'ou, and why 
did you play that old grand familiar march, every 
sound of which touched a respondent chord in my 
heart? When last I heard that erand march it 
was played by one as fair as yourself, but whose 
young life, alas ! was soon clouded over with 
misery ! But tell me, my good girl, something of 
yourself." 

'* Oh, sir!" said Rosa, weeping bitterly, ''I know 
nothing at all of my past history up to the time 
I was put with the great circus to earn my own 
living." 

Sir Edward was shocked to hear her speak of 
the circus, but said kindly : " You certainly could 
not have made yourself proficient in music while in 
the circus, could you, child?" 

'•' Oh, no, sir. When I was riding in the circus, 
there came a boy one day and joined the troupe ; 
that boy had sisters at home, so he took me as his 
litde sister abroad, and, oh, I loved him so much! 
Well, he left the circus and took me to a great city, 
and educated me, and was glad when I left the 
circus. But, one day I quarreled with him, and so 



AMBITIOX. l8l 

we parted, and I thought I would come where no 
one knew me and earn my own Hving." 

Sir Edward coaxed her to play once more, and 
then he would not trespass upon her time any 
longer, he said. 

Rosa played several brilliant pieces,* much to the 
surprise of Sir Edward, after which he pressed her 
hand, thanking her kindly, and took his leave. 

When she had closed the door upon that noble 
form, Rosa threw herself upon the sofa, saying : 
'' Oh, why did he gaze into my eyes so long, what 
am I to him ? Why has he so much power over me? 
I'm nothing but a poor circus-rider, and he is a 
grand gentleman. Ah ! who knows, but some of 
these fine days, I will be a great lady? Oh, my! 
but I will cut a dash when I am a great lady. I 
know I am as pretty as a picture," and as usual, 
Rosa's vanity carried her before the mirror, when, 
to her great surprise, the door was thrown open, 
and, without ceremony, Bert Howard walked in. 

He approached her saying : " Well, what is my 
singing bird doing with herself nowadays ? Come, 
Rosa, I have only a few moments to stay, and a 
great deal to tell you in that time." 

But Rosa said archly : '' Oh ! you're talking in 
your sleep," and, as she turned away, she would 
have escaped, had not he caught her around her 



1 82 AMBITION. 

waist and seated her upon a sofa, where he told her 
the something, too sweet for our ears at present. 

When he arose to go, he said : " Well, faint heart 
never did win fair lady," and, with a wave and kiss 
of the hand, he was gone before Rosa could re- 
monstrate. 





CHAPTER XLI. 



SIR EDWARD RELATES HIS PROMISED STORY. 

SJ a shady and romantic nook In the grand 
m/f^ Central Park sat Sir Edward and his three 
^^^ friends ; when he spoke as follows : 

" Now, gentlemen, I think this is the proper time 
and place to relate what I promised, about twenty 
years ago, I had a loved sister, whom we all 
idolized, just budding into lovely womanhood. 
She, of course, had many admirers, among whom 
was a young Spaniard, a perfect Apollo. 

" Well, he was her shadow, following her every- 
where. At last he made bold to ask her hand in 
honorable marriage, but our father sternly repulsed 
and forbade him the house, for he had given her 
hand in marrlaore to an old lord. 

'' Antonio's wrath burst forth, and he took an oath 
that he would have her, and well did he keep his 
word ; they were both young, and both loved each 
other ardently. 



184 AMBITION. 

% " Finally my sister was married with great pomp 
and ceremony to Lord Estre, and went to live in 
the old ancestral hall of the Estres. Everything 
went off quietly. My sister was often seen to go 
out into the garden at nio^ht, and meet a man who 
always had a cloak wrapped around him. 

*' Well, time wore on, and a beautiful child was 
born to them. Still the lovers, for such they were, 
met in the garden. The servants all loved their 
mistress, and kept her secret. 

'' One night I crept into the garden, as my sister 
flew to his embrace. In his eaoferness to fold her 
in his arms, the cloak fell from his shoulders, and I 
recognized Antonio, my sister's former lover. The 
next thing that happened was, after an absence of 
several days, the old lord came home to find his 
wife and child gone. 

" When it became known, I knew directly that 
it was Antonio with whom she had fled, and, boy 
as I was, I made a vow to follow them all over the 
world. Now I have been in every clime, in every 
country on the globe. 

" I found them in Italy, where poor Antonio 
died in my arms, entirely forgiven by me. I never 
saw such devotion shown to a wife as he showed 
to my sister. After the funeral I tried to persuade 
her to return home with me. She said that if I 



AMBITION. 150 



would Q-Q home and see if father would formve 
and receive her she would go with me ; but that 
night she escaped from the house, and I have 
never seen her since. 

" When poor Antonio was gasping his last in 
mv arms, he becrcred me to take care of his wife 
and his little pearl, and see that no harm came to 
them. I promised solemnly, with the tears chasing 
each other down my cheeks. He told me also, 
before he died, that they were married immedi- 
ately upon their arrival in Italy, • for,' said he, ' she 
was my angel- wife in heaven, and I was determined 
no man should separate us on earth.' 

" Although I never saw my sister since that 
night, I have heard her voice, and have seen her, 
as she was then, in the person of ' Bert's singing 
bird.' Yes, gentlemen,'' said he, rising, '' I believe 
that girl is my lost pearl. I feel like this girl has 
a claim upon me. If it is so, my cup of happiness 
is full." 

" Have you any particular mark by which you 
could identify her?" inquired Clarence Hawthorne. 

" I often noticed, while an infant, a cluster of 
grapes or berries upon her left shoulder," said Sir 
Edward. 

Bert Howard sprang to his feet and cried ex- 
citedly, waving his hat, ''I'll bet my hat that my 



1 86 AMBITION. 

little singing bird is no low-born maid-of-all- 
work!" 

" Did you ever hear her play the piano, Bert?" 
asked Sir Edward. 

" No ! I did not know that she could play upon 
the piano ; but this I do know, that she has played 
the deuce with my heart." And the gay- hearted 
fellow gave a long sigh as he placed his hand over 
his heart. 

" Hush, Bert," said Charles Raymond, '' there 
are ladies coming this way," as voices were heard 
near them, and while he was still speaking, Rosa, 
with two other girls, stood face to face with the 
gentlemen. 

The girls turned to escape, but Wallace and 
Bert started in pursuit, and brought back Rosa in 
triumph, who pleaded earnestly, " Do let me go, 
gentlemen ; we were just hurrying home " — and 
the merry girl took a medallion from her bosom 
and made out that she had. a watch, and said, " Oh ! 
dear, it is past our time," but unfortunately, just as 
she was going to replace it, it fell to the ground. 
Wallace immediately picked it up, saying, playfully, 
'' Why, bless me, this is a handsome time-piece!" 

Rosa held out her hand and begged him to re- 
turn the locket to her, for it was all on earth she 
had to love. 



AMBITION. 187 

Sir Edward approached Rosa, and said : " Will 
you allow me to look at your precious time-piece?" 

Wallace gave it into his hands, when he opened 
the case, and, starting back, grew pale as death. 
When he could orain utterance, he cried out : " Oh, 
my dear girl, where did you get this trinket ? look, 
Wallace, it is the face of our lone lost Maud." 
Wallace opened the other side, and Sir Edward ex- 
claimed : " And this is the unfortunate Antonio." 

Turning to the affrighted Rosa, who was trem- 
bling lest they should keep her precious locket, Sir 
Edward said with great agitation : " Speak, girl, 
who orave vou this locket ? " 

" I have worn that locket ever since I can remem- 
ber," said the affrighted girl. '' Mr. Raymond said 
that I must never part with it, that some day I 
would be a fine lady, and that I must try and be as 
good as that lady in the locket, for I was just as 
beautiful. I ne\'er knew the beautiful lady, but I 
have always loved her." 

" Sir Edward," said Charles Raymond, " I would 
advise you to investigate this matter at once, and 
settle this litde one in some way. It is evident that 
she does not belong to the common class of work- 
ing girls." 

" Yes, that's just what Miss Julia is all the time 
saying," said the maid that was with Rosa, " that she 



1 88 AMBITION. 

thinks herself too much of a lady, and she is impu- 
dent. That's just what we had to change places for. 
Now, gentlemen, if you will only allow us to go 
home, it is past our time, and Rosa is quite over- 
come." 

" Certainly we will permit you to go, my good 
girl, but Rosa must go with me ; she is mine, with- 
out doubt. I will summon the family without de- 
lay." So saying, they made preparations for their 
departure. Sir Edward drew Rosa's hand within 
his arm, while Wallace called the coachmen, and 
when all were ready, the two carriages rolled away. 
Soon they alighted in front of the hotel ; the maid 
was put down at her own door, dreadfully per- 
plexed at the turn of affairs. 





CHAPTER XLII. 

THE FAMILY AT HOM-\ 

HEN Mrs. Saunders was summoned home, 
W^ she could not tell what was the cause, but 
as Sir Edward sent the summons, she dared 
not question, but immediately made preparations 
for a speedy departure. People wondered at the 
most fashionable set leaving so soon. 

Notwithstanding all the surmises, the Saunders 
family arrived safely at home. When Mrs. Saun- 
ders found that Rosa had gone away, she ac- 
costed Julia at the breakfast table with "Julia, dear, 
I cannot see for the life of me, where that little un- 
grateful wretch has taken herself off to, I cannot 
get one word out of May, only that she met some 
gentlemen at the park, and that Rosa went in a 
carriage with them. Now, that looks strange, you 
know, to say the least." 

" Pshaw ! Mother, cannot you see through that! 



IQO AMBITIOX. 

I'm sure the thing Is plain enough. Rosa is a 
pretty girl and smart enough too, and she has been 
meeting a lover, who, of course, has taken advan- 
tage of our absence, to persuade the vain girl to 
elope. Now, there is spice and romance in it after 
all." and Julia leaned back and laughed heartily. 

The servant at this moment announced Mr. 
Howard. 

Now, as Bert was an old and Intimate friend 
of the family, Mrs. Saunders invited him In the 
breakfast room. Bert entered, his face beam- 
ing with good humor. He gave each lady a hand to 
shake, as he, smiling, inquired after their health. 
Then he drew a letter from his pocket, gave it to 
Julia, and turned to Mrs. Saunders, with Sir 
Edward's compliments to her, and said he asked 
permission to bring a friend of his in the evening, 
when he would be most happy to pay his respects 
to the ladles. They granted this seemingly simple 
request, and Bert's mission being fulfilled, he took 
his departure, leaving the ladies to surmise who 
could be the mysterious visitor. 

When evening came, Julia was resplendent 
in diamonds, and with impatience awaited the 
coming of Sir Edward. Shortly after eight o'clock 
the party were announced. Sir Edward entered 
the drawing-room with Rosa leaning upon his arm. 



AMBITIOX. 191 

She wore a lavender-colored silk, with train, and 
elegant diamonds in her raven hair. As Julia 
stood by her mother to receive the friend of her 
intended husband, she raised her eyes to encounter 
the flashing orbs of Rosa. Julia gave a scream, 
and would have fallen had not the noble-hearted 
Bert Howard sprung forward and supported her. 

Rosa said : " I did not mean to frighten you so, 
Julia, dear. Come, uncle is ready to clasp you to 
his great heart. Speak to me, Julia." But Julia was 
speechless with surprise. When she did recover 
the first words which greeted Sir Edward were — 
" And this was he whom she eloped with." 

Sir Edward left Rosa in the hands of Bert, and, 
taking the cold hand of Julia, said, gently : '' Why, 
my love, what do you mean ? Did you ever doubt my 
love for you ? Have I not proved my sincerity ? 
Will you not shortly be my honored wife ? And 
do you begrudge the morsel of affection that I 
have given to my own sister's child?" He rested 
the proud head of Julia upon his broad bosom, and 
gave a full explanation, and poor Julia was overcome 
and shed penitential tears at the recital of the hard- 
ships of Rosa. When Sir Edward had finished, 
he kissed her marble brow, and said, gently : '' Will 
my darling receive my dear sister's child as her 
sister and equal ? " 
G* 



192 AMBITION. 

Julia arose and clasped Rosa to her heart and 
said: ''Rosa! Rosa! forgive, forgive me! and 
love me just a little. I have no sister ; come, come, 
to my heart!" And the two girls wept in each 
other's arms. 

When Rosa withdrew from Julia's embrace, she 
raised her streaming eyes to Heaven, and fell upon 
her knees, saying, with fervor : " Oh, my heavenly 
Father, I thank thee for keeping me safe through 
all my trials to this hour of infinite love, and mercy 
towards me." 

Bert and her uncle raised her gently and placed 
her upon a chair, when Mrs. Saunders said, in a 
choked voice : " Rosa, come to my heart, hence- 
forth you shall be as a daughter," and the old lady 
nearly suffocated Rosa in her endeavors to make 
peace. H 

Bert came to the rescue, and offering his arm 
to Rosa, which she was glad to accept, led her to 
the open window, where she soon recovered her 
strength and spirits. 

Sir Edward was happy indeed, for, said he, gal- 
lantly : " Have I not found my lost pearl, and do I 
not possess one of America's brightest gems ? Now, 
Julia, set the day for our nuptials, for I must 
soon depart for the land of my birth, as I wish to 
show my pearl the spot where she was born." 



AMBITION. 193 

At this moment Bert led the blushing Rosa be- 
fore her uncle, and in the most gallant style im- 
aginable, knelt before him, and asked the hand of 
his fair niece, saying, archly : '' Had I not pursued 
the damsel, you ne'er ^vould have caught her." 

Sir Edward said : " My gallant knight, has your 
wooing been in the most approved style ? " 

Bert said, laughing : '' If not in the most approved 
style, I can most assuredly say, it has been done in 
the most romantic style, and we are willing to finish 
it in the same style by eloping." 

'' Nay, nay, my lord, we'll have no elopement in 
the case. If Rosa (or Maud, as we shall henceforth 
call her) is inclined to favor your suit, I will have 
no objection . to not only your sailing in the same 
vessel with us to Europe, but you may sail your 
bark upon the sea of matrimony at the same time 
we launch ours out." 

The happy young couple were satisfied, and the 
day was set for a grand double wedding.- All w^ere 
delighted but poor Wallace, who had tried to win 
the lady's hand for himself. All knew that he had 
been only playing valet to his cousin. Sir Edward, 
and he had now consented to accompany the bridal 
party to Europe. 



CHAPTER XLIIL 



THE DOUBLE WEDDING. 



I^^REAT preparations were made for two we 
^x^ dinp-s. The lovers spent their time ridii 



1 



wed- 
dings. The lovers spent their time riding 
or sailing, but did not attempt to go to the 
Springs again. Invitations were sent to all the 
watering places, to the surprise of everybody, and 
all the fashionable world was collected in New 
York by the tenth of September. Trinity Church 
was crowded to its utmost capacity. The grand 
organ swelled out a joyous, grand wedding- march, 
as the lovely brides approached the altar. Both 
wore white satin robes, with immense trains, and 
lace overskirts, with veils and orange wreaths. 
Neither wore jewelry of any kind. There was a 
goodly sprinkling of the diplomatic corps, and the 
gay uniforms of the army and navy, for Bert 
Howard was a gallant officer In* the army, and 
Charles Raymond was an officer in the. navy. 



AMBITION. 195 

Bert really looked elegant in his full uniform, and 
marched proudly from the altar with his lovely 
bride upon his arm. The street before the door 
was crowded. The ushers found it difficult to 
make a passage-way to the carriages. 

They soon arrived at the mansion of Mrs. Saun- 
ders, where the two brides stood proudly by their 
husbands and received their guests with grace and 
ease. 

But why does Maud turn pale and tremble, as a 
lady and gentleman stand before her ? The gen- 
tleman takes her trembling hand, while their eyes 
meet, and she faintly murmurs : '' Ames!" while he 
answers as gently: "Rosa!" He presents his 
lovely wife, when the color comes back to her face, 
and she is put at ease by the sweet voice of Annie 
Skiff wishing her joy, both upon her marriage and 
her voyage. 

As the time was pressing, and all wanted to wish 
them joy, Ames and his wife passed on, leaving 
Bert wondering why his wife's cheek paled at the 
approach of Ames Skiff. 

When everybody were enjoying cake and wine, 
the two brides left Mrs. Saunders to entertain, and 
repaired to their rooms and donned their travehng 
costumes, and as they descended the stairs they were 
iret by their happy husbands, who had done like- 



196 AMBITION. 

wise, and they soon bade adieu to their friends. 
As the carriages rolled away, old shoes, and other 
things, for good luck, were thrown after them. 

Some few intimate friends accompanied them to 
the vessel. Among them was Ames, who was the 
last to bid Rosa good-bye. As the noble vessel 
rode out of harbor, the bridal party waved their 
adieus from the upper deck, and they were soon 
out on the ocean wave. 





CHAPTER XLIV 

THE CONFLAGRATION. 



i^^^HEN the party returned from the vessel, and 
was nearing the house, their ears were 



^^■'" assailed by the cry of fire. Without wait- 
ing for the carriage to stop, Ames, who had left his 
wife at the house, burst open the door and leaped 
upon the pavement, and, with a few bounds, was 
at the door of the house, which he found to be on 
fire. When he left, a short time before, all was joy- 
ous and happy, and now his ears were assailed with 
the shrieks of fainting women, and the hoarse 
shouts of the firemen as they called to their com- 
rades for water. 

The crowd was so dense that Ames and his com- 
panions could scarcely elbow their way through, but 
owing to his great anxiety for his helpless wife, he 
made a super-human effort, and at last reached her 
side as she sat moaning piteously upon a sofa, sur- 
rounded by several shrieking, frantic women. 



198 AMBITION. 

No one could tell how the fire originated, but 
certain it was that it had made great headway be- 
fore it was discovered, when those who were in 
the saloon, dancing, were nearly suffocated with the 
dense smoke which enveloped them. 

As Ames rushed through the crowd to where 
his wife sat with her head buried in her hands, he 
caught the words : '' Oh, why did my husband 
leave me? " He knelt beside her, drew her hands 
from her face, and said, hurriedly : '' Annie, darling, 
your husband stands before 3^ou to rescue you, or 
perish with you. Come, be of good cheer, all is 
not lost yet," and he took the gentle being, who 
clung to him as the ivy to the oak, and led her to 
the door, but was forced to draw back as a stream 
of water came pouring in from the hose. When 
this was over he placed his arm around her slender 
waist, and dragged her half fainting out the door. 
Seeing the danger of others, she begged him to 
leave her out in the fresh air, and save some of 
the timid ones inside the burning building. 

Ames put her in a place of safety, and ven- 
tured boldly in, and his form was seen everywhere. 
When the flames arrested his progress, his sonorous 
voice would be heard shouting to the firemen to 
pour a stream of water around him, and in this 
manner he was the means of saving many a faint- 



AMBITION. 199 

inor woman from beinor burned to death ; for where 

o o 

they could have been saved, they were too timid 
to venture, and those who went to save them passed 
on to those who were more courageous. 

As Ames was wiping the water from his face, 
standinor in front of the house, conofratulatinof him- 
self that all were saved, a piercing shriek rent 
the air, and all eyes were immediately turned in 
the direction of an upper window, from whence 
came the sound, and, to the amazement of all, 
there stood Mrs. Saunders, wringing her hands in 
despair. The poor woman had escaped on the 
first alarm to collect some valuable papers and 
trinkets. When she had secured them, she started 
for the stairs, upon reaching which she found the 
flames licking around the balustrades, and all com- 
munication entirely cut off from below; then it was 
that she rushed wildly to the window, calling for 
help and wringing her hands. 

The walls were hot and the flames were fork- 
tongued, and leaped around her in fantastic shapes, 
as though laughing at her misery. 

At this fearful moment, the deep-toned voice of 
Ames was heard above the roaring of the flames, 
as he shouted : '' Pour a broad stream upon the 
front, and bring a ladder." In an instant, several 
hoses were turned on the front of the house ; still, 



200 AMBITION. 

amid smoke and flame, the form of the poor woman 
could be distinctly seen, as if imploring help, though 
her lips were mute. 

The vast multitude held their breath in speech- 
less horror, when a man fearlessly ascended the 
ladder with a fireman's hat and coat on. As he 
reached the window, he drew the half fainting wom- 
an towards him, but with the greatest difficulty 
succeeded in getting her out of the window, for she 
was a very heavy woman. When the man reached 
the pavement, a tremendous shout rent the air, for 
every one knew that it was Ames Skiff who had 
borrowed the fireman's coat and hat. 

. The firemen worked nobly to save the sur- 
rounding buildings, and shout after shout rent the 
air, as the flames were finally subdued. The 
poor men were making preparations for their de- 
parture, when Ames Skifl* kindly invited them to 
supper, which was served from a restaurant near by. 

As the men stood around the tables, they gave 
three hearty cheers for our hero, who gracefully 
acknowledged the compliment, and giving orders for 
whatever was required to the keeper, waved an 
adieu with his hat, and made his escape amid a tre- 
mendous shout. 

Before he took the men to supper, he had sent 
his wife and Mrs. Saunders in a carriage to his own 



AMBITION. 20 1 

home, where they had every attention from the 
servants. 

When he passed where the handsome house had 
stood in the morning full of life and gayety, he* be- 
held nothing but the smouldering ruins, where now 
and then a sharp tongue of fire would shoot out 
the debris. 





CHAPTER XLV 

THE SHADOW OF DEATH. 



^OME time after the great conflagration, as 
i ^'^ A _•..-._. •. 1.-^ .rc.. ^Yi^ post- 
He has- 



Ames was sitting in his office, 
man brought in a letter to him. 
tily broke the seal, when, to his great surprise, it 
was a summons to the cleath-bed of Mr. Penn, the 
father of his wife. How to break the dreadful 
news, he did not know ; but, at last, his resolve was 
taken. -He took-his hat, and left the office. When 
he arrived, Annie ran to receive her usual kiss. 
Now something unusual in his countenance caused 
her to inquire the cause, as he placed the letter 
in her hand, and went towards the window until 
after its perusal. Then she called in. a faint 
voice : 

'' Ames, there is no time to lose. Had we not 
better start in the morning ? Oh ! I would not 
have my dear father's spirit take its flight before 
I gazed once more upon his beloved features." 



AMBITION. 203 

xA.mes put his arm around Annie, and leaned her 
head upon his shoulder, when she had a good, 
quiet cry, which seemed to relieve fier very much. 
When she became tranquil, he raised her head and 
kissed her gently, bidding her get together what 
things she required and be ready to start that 
night, then she would be ready for her duties in the 
sick-room in the morning. To say a thing was 
as good as having it already done with Ames. 
When he returned in the evening, he found his 
wife anxiously waiting for him. He also found 
pleasant quarters on a steamer. So, when they 

reached M , the next morning, she was not as 

tired as she expected to be. 

That was a mournful group which had assembled 
to welcome her home. They led her upon tiptoe 
into the room where the beloved form of her noble 
father lay in the last throes of death. • 

The doctor would not send for her until all hope 
of his recovery was gone ; so when she reached 
his bedside, his life was fast ebbing away. As 
Annie and Ames bent lovingly over the dying 
man, he opened his eyes and fixed them intently 
upon them, murmured : " God bless you, my chil- 
dren ! " and closed them again. 

Annie kneeled by his bed-side, her hand clasped 
in his icy one, and her head buried in the c®unter- 



204 AMBITION. 

pane. Ames stood over her with his hand resting 
upon her bowed head. 

WilHam Penn and his wife stood at the foot of 
the bed, and poor Mrs. Penn moaned piteously as 
she buried her face in the cold hand of her idohzed 
husband, who, without a sigh or murmur, passed 
gently away, seeming perfectly well satisfied to have 
his family go with him to the edge of the dark river, 
where he was sure of his guide, to pass hi-m over 
the cold waters in safety, to the celestial fields be- 
yond. 

For a long time there was silence, broken only by 
the sobs of the poor afflicted widow and daughter. 

Then the doctor gently lifted Mrs. Penn, telling 
her that all was over. 

Ames led his wife away, while Will did the same, 
and forthwith preparation was made for the funeral. 

In two days after, all that was mortal of Mr. Penn 
was consigned to the silent tomb. A large concourse 
of friends followed him to the grave, for he was 
greatly beloved. 

After the funeral, Annie wanted her mother to 
accompany her home, but she refused, saying, she 
would never leave the home of her youth, and she 
remained with Will Penn, and her daughter took a 
tearful leave of all, to follow the fortunes of the man 
she loved. 



CHAPTER XLVI 




^^'^ 



A FLYING VISIT OUT WEST. 



HE deep mourning of Annie seemed to af- 
fect her spirits, and Ames proposed a flying 
visit to his friends in the city of C . 

So one day he told Annie to prepare for the 
journey, and as he always traveled by night, so 
they could be refreshed in the morning, at night- 
fall all was in readiness, and soon they were rattling 
over the railroad at a rapid rate. 

Ames knew, by the jumping of the cars, that all 
was not right, and as Annie was nervous, he told 
her she had better sit up altogether, for he really 
feared an accident, and it was better to be pitched 
out with their eyes open, than to have them shut. 
Scarcely were the words spoken, than there came 
a fearful crash, and the cars were precipitated down 
a steep embankment. Fortunately, none in the car 
with them were injured, but the curses and groans 
of those in the smoking-car were frightful to hear. 



206 AMBITION. 

When Ames found himself and wife uninjured, 
he was thankful indeed, and picked themselves up 
to look after those who were crying for help. 

When they reached the cars that were smashed 
up, they witnessed a frightful sight. There were 
great hearty men, who were full of life an hour 
before, now lying so mangled that one could scarcely 
tell they were human beings. 

The bodies of the injured were carefully taken 
from the ruins and laid upon the grass, and the 
women became ministerinor aneels to them then in- 
deed. Many a rough man who had learned to 
curse, in this dark hour of fearful calamity learned 
to bless them, and could not bear his self-consti- 
tuted nurse to leave him for a moment. The ladies 
even tore up their linen dusters to make bandages 
for the wounded. 

Notwithstandino; the attention and o^ood nursing, 
some breathed their life away upon the cold 
ground ; but all had a tear of pity for their hard 
fate shed over them, as the women gently covered 
the staring corpse with a piece of cloth or handker- 
chief. 

As Annie was moving away from a terrible-look- 
ing object, she heard a groan, and on turning her 
head, saw a beautiful boy of some fifteen summers. 
His great blue eyes seemed to follow her wherever 



AMBITION. 207 

she went. At last she spoke to him, when he held 
out his hand and begged her to lift him up. She 
did so, and laid his beautiful head upon her lap, 
when he burst into tears, saying : " Oh, my father, 
my murdered father ! Now I am indeed an or- 
phan ! I stand alone in the wide, wide world." 
She kissed his pure white brow. When Ames reach- 
ed the spot, telling her to make ready for a speedy 
departure, she begged to let the boy go with 
them. Ames readily consented, willing to incur 
all expense, if the doctor said he could go. 

The doctor gave his consent, and the orphan 
found friends in the amiable couple, who gave him 
every attention until they reached their destination, 
when he was placed in a luxuriant bed, and a phy- 
sician called in, and with good, careful nursing, he 
soon recovered, but his benefactors would not hear 
of him leaving them. 

When the news of Ames's arrival reached the 
club-room, the hotel was literally besieged with his 
old friends, who were overjoyed at shaking his 
hand once more. 



CHAPTER XLVII. 



THE MEETING WITH OLD FRIENDS. MELANCHOLY 

MEETING WITH HENRY DEBAR. 




HEN Ames once more made his appear- 
ance at the club, he was received with 
enthusiasm. Toasts and speeches were 
the order of the evening. His bright smile seemed 
to be contagious, for every countenance beamed 
with delight, as they drank to the health and future 
happiness of the " prince of good fellows." 

It was nigh unto day when they separated. 

When Ames reached home, he found he had 
missed the familiar face of his old chum, Henry 
DeBar, and made up his mind to make a search 
for that prominent gentleman. 

After partaking of a hearty breakfast, the next 
morning, Ames set off in the direction of the little 
brown cottage, which to his astonishment, he found 
closed, and the gate locked upon the inside. He 



AMBITION. 209 

wended his way in disappointment to the carriage, 
and gave orders to drive to No. — Montgomery 
Street, which he reached in a httle time, but was 
horrified upon ahghting to find the house all closed, 
and a sash of black crape hanging from the door. 

He hastily ascended the steps, rang the bell, and 
was admitted by the maid, who had just wiped the 
tears from her eyes with her apron, and sighed 
heavily when Ames inquired softly, why was the 
house in mourning. 

" Oh, sir! " said Mary, bursting into tears, '' did 
you not hear that Mr. Frank Hardy, who was 
coming from New York, was smashed up in that 
horrid old train ? We are now expecting him to 
be brought up from the depot every minute." And 
poor Mary refused to be comforted, for she had 
" loved the poor gentleman," as she said, and would 
rather it should have been her worthless life, in- 
stead of his dear valuable one. 

Just at this moment, Mrs. Sutton, thinking she 
heard a familiar voice, came from the back parlor, 
and upon seeing Ames Skiff, approached, extended 
her hand, but neither could speak for their emotion. 
Ames clasped her hand in silence, but she knew 
how much his great heart swelled with sympathy 
for her, by the bright tear that fell upon her hand, 
which he held. 



2IO AMBITION. 

At length she seemed to realize his awkward 
position, and led him to a room upon the sec- 
ond floor, where he found Henry trying to com- 
fort little Maggie, who moaned : '' Oh, my uncle ! 
my dear, dear uncle ! Oh ! papa, I found — I found 
him! and now God has taken him from me!" And 
the beautiful girl hid her face in his bosom, and 
screamed as thouofh she would ofo into convulsions. 

As Henry perceived Ames standing upon the 
threshold, he arose, with his precious burden still 
clinging to him, gave one hand to Ames in silence, 
while with the other, he was obliged to support the 
afflicted girl, who would not listen to words of 
comfort. 

Our hero at length found voice, and Inquired of 
Henry, if he could be of any service, to command 
him at once. ^ 

Henry gladly accepted his proffered services, 
and begged him to go to the depot at once and see 
what caused the delay In removing the corpse. 

He departed immediately, with the shrieks of 
Maggie still ringing in his ears. At the frontdoor 
he met Ernest, her brother, who, although he felt 
his loss keenly, bore up as bravely as a man. 

The boy stepped up and placed his hand in that 
of the noble-hearted Ames, and said, in a trem- 
bling voice : '' Sir, may I go with you to bring my 



AMBITION. 2 I I 

uncle home ? " and the answer being In the affirm- 
ative, he sprang into the carriage and soon they 
found themselves at the depot, where they could 
scarcely make their way through the crowd of 
weeping women and children, who were searching 
among the boxes for their loved ones. Each 
rough coffin had the name of the occupant upon it. 
Our friends soon found what they sought, when 
they procured a bier, and engaged four strong men 
to convey It to the house of mourning. 

They again entered the carriage, and was driven 
to the undertaker's, to make immediate prepara- 
tion for the funeral. When they reached the house 
there was a crowd about the door waltlncr for the 
corpse to arrive. 

Presently the heavy tramp of the pall-bearers 
was heard, and all raised their hats and stood in 
silence until the rouo-h box was borne into the 

o 

darkened parlor, and the undertaker followed. 
When the body was exposed to view, Ames started 
back, for he recognized one whose ghastly features 
his wife had covered with her handkerchief, for 
there was the Identical handkerchief with her ini- 
tials In a corner. He groaned aloud, saying : '' Oh, 
why did I leave him alone ? Why did I not bring 
the noble remains with me ? " 

It was truly heart-rending to see the grief of 



2 I 2 AMBITION. 

Maggie when her uncle's corpse was brought in. 
She broke away from Henry and threw herself 
upon the rough box, called her uncle by every en- 
dearing name, and begged him just to smile upon 
her and speak to her once more ; and then she put 
her ear down and seemed to await his answer, and 
when she found he could not answer she would 
clinor around the box and make the stoutest heart 
ache with her piteous appeals and screams. This 
was the second time MaeOfie had seen her loved 
ones snatched away by the ruthless hand of death. 

In two days after, the mutilated remains of 
the once handsome Frank Hardy were consigned 
to his lonel}% narrow bed in the beautiful cemetery. 

When the minister said, " Dust to dust and 
ashes to ashes," every hat was lifted in respect to 
the dead. 

A terrible shriek rent the air, and Mao-aie flew 
by the terrified group, and threw herself upon 
the coffin in the grave. In a moment more, the 
form of our hero was seen with the bleedino- and 

o 

inanimate girl in his arms. He bore her through 
the crowd, and placed her gentl}^ in the arms of 
him who had rescued her from starvation, and was 
now her only earthly father and protector. 

At this outburst of grief, none could restrain 
their tears ; even strong men, who were unused to 



AMBITION. 213 



-vveep, sobbed aloud. One alone stood like he was 
petrified ; that was the noble-hearted Henry, who 
held her in his arms and gazed upon her bleeding 
form as though his heart was rent in twain. 

He was aroused from his stupor by Ames, who 
led him to his carriage, when the gentle Annie 
accompanied them to the house, and consoled them 
with sweet words of comfort. 

Soon Maggie was made as comfortable as possi- 
ble, but fever set in, and it was many weeks before 
she recovered sufficiently to know the silent 
watcher by her side. Such was the devotion of 
Henry, that when Maggie came back from the 
verge of the grave, he was scarcely more than a 
shadow of his former self. 




CHAPTER XLVIII. 



THE MYSTERY 



OF MAGGIE S BIRTH SOLVED. 
HEIRESS. 



-THE 




NE cold, rainy day in October, three years 



'/^ after the death of Frank Hardy, a woman 
closely veiled entered the office of Henry 
DeBar, placed a letter in his hand, and left as 
mysteriously as she had come. Henry very com- 
placently broke the seal, and two photographs fell 
to the floor. He picked them up and gazed long 
upon the face of Ashton Moore, the other was 
that of a stranger, but Maggie had the same look 
out of the lovely blue eyes, and the same mis- 
chievous smile around the mouth. Henry was 
puzzled, to say the least, and naturally turned to the 
letter for explanation. He would first look at the 
'etter, and then he would throw it down and gaze 
intently upon each face in turn. 'Tis true Henry 



AMBITION. 2 I 5 

had some queer thoughts about Ashton Moore's 
early life. Finally, he threw aside the pictures and 
read the letter. It ran thus : 

"Mr. Henry DeBar : Dear Sir : — As I am now 
upon the verge of eternity, I disclose my infamy 
in keeping this secret from you. Years ago, two 
noble boys (twins) were given to my care with 
an immense fortune, when their parents were cut 
off in the hey-day of life by that fearful scourge, 
yellow-fever, in New Orleans. 

" Well, I was childless, and gave one of the 
boys to the world, and the other I kept, with his 
fortune, to myself. When he was only seventeen 
years old (he was large for his age, and was ex- 
ceedingly handsome and manly) he formed an at- 
tachment, from his early boyhood, with a lovely 
child of a poor neighbor, and amid strong opposi- 
tion, this smouldering fire leaped out in a fearful 
flame, that proved their own destruction, for the 
boy, who had an account at bank, drew it, and the 
result was a grand elopement of the children, the 
girl was but fifteen and the boy not yet seventeen. 
After an ineffectual attempt to gain possession of 
the children, we gave up in despair. 

" Some few years ago, we found some trace of the 
widow and children of my noble Walter Ashton 
Moore ; he was named after his father, but dropped 



2 I 6 AMBITION. 

the 'Moore,' and went by the name o£ Ashton, to 
escape detection. 

" When I heard of the family, they were in 
abject poverty, and of course, would only have 
been a burden to me. The next thine I heard, 
was that you had taken them under your protec- 
tion, and I, as a demon, rested satisfied, until I was 
stricken down by the hand of an avenging God. 
Now, sir, if you go to the Merchants' Bank, you 
will find an account in the name of Walter A. 
Moore, which I have bequeathed in my will to the 
children of said W. A. Moore, and that further- 
more that the twin brother is known by the name 
of Ashton Moore, and said Ashton Moore has 
papers to the effect that he has a twin brother; 
therefore, I enclose the likeness of both father 
and mother to substantiate my dying statement. I 
hereby declare that, Ernest Ashton, with his two 
sisters, Maggie and Lulu, are the legitimate chil- 
dren, and lawful heirs of Walton Ashton Moore, 
and may God bless and keep them as he has here- 
tofore is the dying wish of 

*' Marcus B. Clinton, 
" Guardian of Walter Ashton Moore." 

"■ So my Maggie has found a relative for the 
one she has lost," said Henry, as he carefully 



AMBITION. 217 

k 

folded the valuable document, and placed it In his 
inside pocket, and wended his way to the hotel of 
Ames, to consult with that gentlemen, who was 
glad that he was so near to the little gifted 
Maggie. 

When Henry found everything was correct, 
which was stated in the letter, and the miserable 
wretch was dead and almost forgotten, he broke 
the news to the children, who were delighted at 
the thought of having a cousin, and that, too, in 
the handsome Ashton. 

Upon Maggie's birthday, her adopted fatherpre- 
sented her with two handsome portraits — one of 
her mother and the other her father, when all de- 
clared that Ashton Moore must have sat for it. 

When Ashton arrived three months after, he 

was indeed proud to own the handsome blue-eyed 

girl, who modestly let him take her in his strong 

arms, and cover her blushing face with kisses, but 

one stood apart whose bosom swelled with emotion, 

and that one was none other than our old friend 

Milton Smith, who, although old enough to be 

Maggie's uncle, wished that he could be something 

nearer. 

10 




CHAPTER XLIX 



MILTON SMITH S REWARD. 




x^^EARS rolled on, and Milton Smith had 



gained a great suit in law, and was receiving 
the congratulations of his friends in the court 
room, when he encountered a pair of bewitching 
blue eyes filled with happy tears, and as her father, 
Henry DeBar, led her forward to press the hand of 
the eloquent and successful lawyer, who had been 
his companion for years, she timidly and blushingly 
put forth her hand, which he grasped, and blushed 
like a girl. 

Henry saw that his jewel was loved by a man 
who was every way worthy of her, and whom he 
would trust to the end of the world. Some days 
after, Milton called at the office and demanded the 
hand of the beautiful daughter of Henry in mar- 
riage, who grasped his friend by the hand, saying : 
''Take her, my boy, and may you be happy!" 
Thus was the honest lawver 'rewarded. 



AMBITION. 219 

As he was turning away, he said : " Henry, I 
have one more favor to ask. Will you give Ernest 
a junior partnership in our firm ? " 

*' No ! " said Henry, " he is now being fitted out 
to enter West Point, for he has chosen a military 
life, and I will be proud of my soldier boy yet ; be 
satisfied with what you have got ; do not, I beg of 
you, try to rob me of all!" 

" Nay, not all, Henry, for }'ou have another 
sweet blossom in little Lulu, whom )'ou will have 
to give away one of these days." So the two 
friends parted. 




CHAPTER L 



THE GOAL OF HIS AMBITION REACHED. 



T m, AM mighty glad that somebody has taken 
wA hold of this old road, and made it what it 
^B> is now, for really I did dread the hazardous 
undertaking of jogging over the fam.ous Erie Rail- 
road — famous only for its slaughter of human 
life. 

" Oh ! with what a different feelinor one can enter 
the grand palace car now. Why, I can disrobe for 
the night and feel as secure as when I am in 
my bed at home," and so saying the corpulent 
old gentleman took off his spectacles and turned 
the seat, then stretched himself out to take a com- 
fortable nap, for, as he had told his neighbors, 
lie did not apprehend the least danger, so secure 
did he rest in the belief that a master hand held 
the reins of the iron horse. 

Who was this prince of the road ? Why, none 



AMBITION. • 221 

Other than the ambitious country youth who had 
ventured from his mountain home to rein in the 
fiery horses of Van Amburgh's circus. From one 
round of the ladder he has stepped upon the 
other until now he is up at the top. And more- 
over, in his conquering march he has won many 
hearts by his noble bearing and gentle, womanly 
heart, with his lion's strength. Even here it is put 
before a wondering world^ie makes humanity his 
study. Ah ! the recollection of that railroad slaughter 
is ever before his eyes. Had it not been for care- 
lessness, his noble friend, Frank Hardy, would 
be here to celebrate his triumph. And yet, our 
hero grasps one thing more ; he thinks there ought 
to be, for the comfort of the poorer masses, floating 
palaces, as the Granville, on the Mississippi, and 
forthwith he fits up the great Arctic. Who but 
the prince of good fellows would think of getting 
up such a splendid craft for the good of the poorer 
classes, the elegant hanofingfs and the solid furni- 
ture and splendid mirrors, so all can have a glimpse 
of the grandeur this world contains, and which is 
within the grasp of every enterprising young Amer- 
ican ; for mind you, this man has made his own 
fortune, young as he is. And proud indeed ought 
the parents of such a son to be. Young men ! the 
avenue of enterprise and wealth is open to you as 



2 2 2 • AMBITION. 

well as It was to him. He had exalted ideas, and 
now he realizes all his boyhood thought of. 

It is this real hero that my story commences with. 
He has always held an iron rein over himself as 
well as over his team, and his motto has always 
been, '' Never turn back." 




CHAPTER LI 




CONCLUSION. 

N the corner of — Avenue and Street, 

ooms up to view a magnificent marble 



)uilcling. 



We take a peep inside. There 
are grand broad marble staircases and grand ante- 
rooms, where groups are standing waiting to be 
summoned to his august presence. Presently a 
glass door is thrown open, and the Tisher announces 
you. You feel like you were in the presence of the 
President of the United States ; but fear not, it is 
simply our hero ; these are his working hours ; 
business is business with him ; you tell him your 
business and are speedily dispatched, for he has 
hundreds waiting and his time is precious. He 
bow5; you out in great style. Mind, whatever he 
undertakes is done in the most urbane manner, for 
he has great regard for the feelings of every one ; 
has he not come through all grades ol life ? 



2 24 AMBITION. 

Now, again we catch a parting glimpse of our hero. 
He Is tendered a commission. What Is It? Ah! 
he Is unanimously voted a military commander. 
Our hero accepts the honorable position, and forth- 
with spends his money freely to make his regi- 
ment second to none In the service. As they 
parade through the streets, ladles wave their 
dainty handkerchiefs and men wave their hats, and 
tremendous shouts rend the air. Now, as he has 
his foot upon the topmost round of the ladder, let 
us shout with the multitude a hearty shout for 
young America. 



THE END. 



r^^ 







h.X 



^\\